0840 GMT February 21, 2018
In an interview with Tasnim news agency, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi touched on the worrisome conflicts in the region, saying they originate from big mistakes made by world powers decades ago, among them an unconditional US support for Israel.
Asked whether Iran was open to the idea of forming a coalition with Iraq, Syria and Turkey to counter threats and solve crises in the region, Qassemi said what the Islamic Republic wants is to maintain peace and security.
“At the current juncture, the Islamic Republic, beside preserving its independence and creating necessary foundations for boosting and upgrading its position, has a positive outlook that would help security, peace and stability in the region,” he said.
“We want peace and stability for all; therefore, there is no need to build such a coalition against others,” Qassemi added.
For instance, "if our relations with Turkey or Azerbaijan are good, they won't be against any other country," the spokesman said.
"There are differences of views and misunderstanding, but in a coalition, we have to decide whom we are for or against because we can't have dual behavior."
Iran, Egypt likely to step up ties
Qassemi touched on Iran's relations with other countries, including Egypt with which it has had no full diplomatic ties since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Bilateral cooperation between the two countries, he said, is at the level of interests sections, but they have exchanges of views and their foreign ministers have been in contact whenever necessary.
“It is possible to increase relations; we have special respect for the Egyptian people and its civilization,” Qassemi said.
The official said there are "complexities" in bilateral ties between Tehran and Cairo which they have not been able yet to solve in "a desirable fashion", calling on Egypt to have "a more realistic look" at Iran.
"With prudence, Egypt can return to its past days and retake its superior place in the Islamic world," Qassemi said, adding "Egypt is different from many newly-born states in the region."
The official was apparently referring to Saudi Arabia's allies in the ongoing crisis with Qatar which is under a virtual blockade with the participation of Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.
"Egypt is one of the most important countries in the region and the Islamic world which can play a more outstanding role in the Arab and Islamic world but unfortunately it has lost this standing to a great degree."
No communication channel with Trump
Asked about contacts with the administration of US President Donald Trump, Qassemi said Iran had discussions with Washington within the framework of the 2015 nuclear agreement and the Joint Commission monitoring the implementation of the deal.
“There is no communication channel between us and Mr. Trump's administration at this time,” he said.