0113 GMT February 17, 2019
Zarif made the remarks on Monday while addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Press TV reported.
He said that Saudi Arabia is trying to introduce Iran as a regional threat, while adding that more dialogue is needed among regional states.
“We believe, in our region we suffer from dialogue deficit. We don't talk to each other. We talk a lot about each other, particularly when we come here. Our neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, want to create an impression that we are an existential threat against them. You just saw a very expensive two-week tour of the United States and that was one of the most important messages that wanted to be presented,” he added.
Zarif noted that regional countries need to break away from the paradigm of exclusion which prevails in the region.
The Iranian foreign minister also said the era of zero sum games is long over.
“In the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries there are no winners; only the degree and amount of loss will be different. In the globalized era... you cannot have security at the expense of insecurity of others,” he said. “The era of hegemonic influence is long gone,” and, he added, neither Iran, nor Saudi Arabia can be hegemonic powers in region.
“We need to realize and appreciate this fact, however heart-breaking it may be, none of us can become this new hegemon,” he added.
Zarif also said that without mutual respect, there can be no dialogue between Tehran and Washington.
No prospects for Iran-US dialogue
He added under the present circumstances and with the current tone of the US government there are no prospects for dialogue between Tehran and Washington.
“My aim is to start a process that I can have some hope. I mean, you cannot start a process just because, I mean, stop the process, or not engage, just because of a fear of failure. But at least you need to have some hope of success, some prospect for success, in order for this process to start. And I do not believe that, under the present circumstances, with the present tone, and language and approach of the current administration in Washington, you would have much prospect,” he said.
The Iranian foreign minister also went on to defend the presence of Iranian military advisors in Syria.
“I think you need to thank us for preventing Damascus, Baghdad, and Erbil, mind you, from falling in the hands of ISIS (Daesh), because, then, instead of a terrorist organization, you would have had two terrorist states,” he added.
“I’m saying categorically, let us stop the war in Syria and Iraq... and Yemen tomorrow. And, if you see Iran not doing its best to stop that war, then you can accuse us of any moral degradation that you want,” he added.