Question: US President Donald Trump said his country will send 1,500 military personnel to the Middle East. How will this affect regional conflicts?
What do you think about Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s proposal for the countries in the region to sign a non-aggression treaty? Could Russia be a mediator in bringing the positions of these counties closer in terms of signing the proposed document?
Sergey Lavrov: As for the decision of US President Donald Trump to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East and North Africa in addition to those that are already deployed there, risks always grow with the buildup of military potential. I hope that sensible voices that come from Washington, including statements by former military leaders, politicians and diplomats on the recklessness of the idea of war against Iran, will be heard. At any rate, we have the grounds to hope for this. Not all US administration officials are obsessed with aggression.
As for the proposal of Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif, this is consonant with our old proposal to start formulating a security concept for the Persian Gulf with the coastal Arab states and the Islamic Republic of Iran. I discussed this initiative in enough detail with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf at the foreign minister level and with the Islamic Republic of Iran. As for these Arab states, they have not yet arrived at a common position. In any event, it is essential to move towards drafting the said concept and a security system with simple steps: transparency in military affairs, invitation to exercises and the development of other trust building measures with the participation of the following guarantors: the Arab League, the UN, the EU and five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Our proposals are open and there is no secret about them. I hope they will be considered.
Reaching a non-aggression agreement is the first step towards the de-escalation of tensions. We would consider such an agreement the right thing to sign.