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Zarif: I Have Limited Authorities in Syria | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delivers his speech during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

London, Riyadh- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif admitted on Sunday that he lacked full authority to take decisions on the Syrian file, asserting that his ministry operates under the orders of the Supreme National Security Council that acts as a coordinator between the Iranian sides linked to the events in the war-torn country.

The Foreign Minister renewed his verbal attack against Saudi Arabia by accusing the Kingdom of pinning its hopes on the “negative atmosphere” created before the July 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, and of doing its best to revive this atmosphere.

“Unfortunately, some regional countries were very enthusiastic about that pressure and the negative atmosphere,” he said.

In an interview with Iran’s ISNA news agency, Zarif said there is no need for a mediator between Tehran and Riyadh. “The issue is not about a mediator, but the political demands of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The minister denied the presence of any dispute between the Iranian apparatuses concerning decisions linked to Syria. He told the agency that “the Supreme National Security Council is the body responsible for deciding which way (Iran) should deal with the Syrian file.”

Zarif also said: “Neighboring states have no choice but to start negotiations with Iran as the best way to solve regional issues.

Iran “is keen to cooperate and negotiate with regional countries,” he added.

The Iranian minister also indirectly lashed out at Turkey by saying “some of our neighbors have illusions and think that there is a possibility of reviving past domination in this region. Actually the modern era and international environment don’t tolerate the domination. Anybody who follows such a path is wrong.”

Zarif’s comments came as a response to accusations launched a few days ago by the Iranian parliament concerning offering concessions in the ongoing negotiations on the Syrian crisis.

Meanwhile, Maldivian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Hamid, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that his country rejected an Iranian request to open a radio channel in the Maldives.

The ambassador said the Republic of Maldives is a country that steers clear of sectarianism and rejects the spread of other ideologies.