TEHRAN — A top advisor to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has censured the rise in the number of visits by American officials to regional countries, saying the visits are parts of attempts to foment “Iranophobia”.
“The growing number of trips the U.S. authorities have been making to regional countries in recent days and weeks is meant to incite Iranophobia and create instability in the region,” Ali Asghar Khaji said in a meeting with Qatar’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi in Doha on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the two diplomats discussed ways to promote Tehran-Doha political and economic relations, Tasnim reported.
Khaji and Al-Muraikhi further talked about the ongoing developments in the region, stressing the need to continue bilateral consultations.
President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly described enhancement of relations with neighbors, Qatar in particular, as an indispensable part of Tehran’s foreign policy.
Last week, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley made an unannounced visit to Israel following a series of events which have raised fears of a new adventurism by the two regimes.
Milley met with senior Israeli military and intelligence leaders at an air base south of the occupied territories and discussed “regional security challenges.” The American general also held a video conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz said that during his talks with Milley, he had emphasized “the need to continue the pressure on Iran,” claiming that the regime’s military “is prepared and ready for any scenario and any threat, and I do not suggest our enemies to test us.”
The visit came a day after U.S. warplanes operating illegally in Syria harassed an Iranian Beirut-bound passenger plane over Syrian airspace, which forced the Mahan Air flight to lower altitude to avoid collision.
Late last month, U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook started a West Asia tour to discuss Iran with U.S. allies, with stops in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Israel.
In his visit to Riyadh, Hook claimed that lifting the UN arms embargo on Iran will trigger an arms race in West Asia.
“This is not an outcome that the UN Security Council can accept. The council’s mandate is clear: to maintain international peace and security,” he claimed.
The U.S. diplomat made similar remarks in Bahrain and the UAE.
The United States has been seeking support for its demand of extending a 13-year UN weapons embargo on Iran. However, Russia and China, which are both members of the UN Security Council, oppose the embargo.
The UN arms embargo is due to expire in October under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The U.S. abandoned the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, and pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran to force it to negotiate a new deal but to no avail.