Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday questioned US plans for a coalition for a “peaceful resolution” in the Middle East while listing repeated Iranian diplomatic initiatives.
“Coalition for Peaceful Resolution?” Zarif said in a statement on Twitter, and listed eight diplomatic initiatives by Iran since 1985, including a peace plan for Yemen in 2015, and a regional non-aggression pact for the Gulf region proposed earlier this year.
The US said on Thursday that it was building a coalition to deter Iranian threats following a weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was seeking to build a “coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution.”
In another tweet, Zarif said that the US valued oil more than people in the Middle East, before leaving for New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN next week, state media reported.
“Arab blood vs. Arab oil / A primer on US policy: 4 yrs of indiscriminate bombardment of Yemen, 100,000 dead Yemenis, 20M malnourished Yemenis, 2.3M cholera cases, carte blanche for culprits,” Zarif tweeted.
“Retaliatory Yemeni strike on oil storage tanks = unacceptable “act of war”,” he added, in reference to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure on Saturday last week, which Pompeo called an “act of war” against the world’s largest oil exporter.
Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which Tehran says were carried out by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which has claimed responsibility for them.
Zarif left for New York early on Friday, Iranian state television said, after Iran’s UN mission confirmed that the US has issued visas allowing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif to attend the UN General Assembly.
Zarif has warned Trump against being dragged into a war in the Middle East and said it would meet any offensive action with a crushing response.
Pompeo said that Trump, who has ordered more sanctions on Iran, wants a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Under US sanctions Tehran is barred from oil exports.
Pompeo did not provide details about the coalition proposed by the US.
Meanwhile, the Houthi movement yesterday accused the Saudi-led coalition of dangerously escalating of the situation around Hodeidah in Yemen after coalition forces attacked targets north of the port city.
The actions threatened a UN-brokered ceasefire accord in the Red Sea port, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said.
The Saudi-led coalition earlier in the day launched a military operation north of Hodeidah against what it described as “legitimate military targets.”
A coalition spokesman said that attacks had destroyed four sites used to assemble remote-controlled boats and sea mines.
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