Iran's FM Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great
Speaking in the Munich Security Conference, Iranian foreign minister blames the Jewish state of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, criticizes European powers for not calling out Israel and the US for their behavior in the region.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its behavior and that of the United States was increasing the chances of a clash in the region.
"Certainly, some people are looking for war ... Israel," Zarif said at the Munich Security Conference.
Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif also criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.
"The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law," he said.
"Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, US behavior is putting international law on the shelf."
Zarif, who said Iran was committed to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his country is ready to work with all of its neighbors to secure peace in the Middle East in the face of US and Israeli aggression, in his latest attempt to weaken ties between regional rival Saudi Arabia and America.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting proxy wars for years, backing opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
But pressure is building on Tehran after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions. Saudi Arabia welcomed the move.
"Iran is ready to work with regional states to preserve security in the Middle East," Rouhani said in a public speech in the southern Hormozgan province, broadcast live on state TV. "We want to establish brotherly ties with all countries of the region ... Iran has never started any aggression in the region."
"Those regional states that believe Israel and America can establish security are wrong. We, the Muslims, should ensure the regional security," Rouhani said, to chants of "Death to America," and "Death to Israel".
Rouhani's previous overtures to Saudi Arabia, such as after his election in 2013 and Zarif's efforts in 2017, have had no success, and some analysts were skeptical his latest attempt would be different.
"Considering the ongoing hostility, there is no possibility of a dialogue between the arch enemies," said Tehran-based analyst Hamid Farahvashian.
Iran accuses Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of supporting militant Sunni groups that carry out attacks against Iranian forces, including a suicide bombing on Wednesday in Iran's southeastern province that borders Pakistan.
Sunni group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice), which says it seeks greater rights and better living conditions for the ethnic minority Baluchis, claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The Revolutionary Guards have threatened Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan with retaliation.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan deny backing the militants. Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday summoned Pakistan's ambassador to protest about Wednesday's attack.