US has concerns over Iran's Middle East policy (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12
By Dalga Khatinoglu, Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The US has a number of concerns about Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East, Steve Fagin, Director of the Iran Office at the US Department of State, told Trend on Nov.12.
"We have a number of concerns, including Iran's support for terrorism. We have designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and we have designated Hizbullah as a foreign terrorist organization.
We will raise these concerns at the UN and will do what we can unilaterally and multilaterally to counter these kinds of activities," he said.
.Further, the American diplomat said "we think it is very destabilizing for Iran to continue to support and arm the Houthis. The US is in touch with the UN and international community, trying to finds a solution to the conflict in Yemen. The best thing that Iran can do is to obey the relevant UN Security Council Resolution and to stop arming Houthi rebels", he said.
Coming to Syria, Fagin said that the US has similar concern about Iran's support for the Assad regime. "Iranians have participated in multilateral discussions that occurred in Vienna at the end of October, dedicated to the Syria crisis. There are many difficulties between the US and Iran on this issue, in particular, in regard with Assad, but Iran was invited to do so by the consensus of the parties involved, to try to engage Iran constructively on this issue".
The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Russia, as well as representatives of China and some European and Arab nations, participated in a summit in Vienna on Oct. 30, dedicated to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Tehran has always expressed support for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Islamic Republic views the Syrian regime as its main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.
Western countries accuse Iran of running military operations in Syria, but Tehran denies the accusations. Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed that they only provide military consultations to the Syrian forces.
The US and its partners say Bashar al- Assad could participate in a political transition, but would have to leave power at the end of the process if Syria is to move on from a war that has killed at least 250,000 people and forced more than 11 million from their homes.
The American diplomat also mentioned Iraq, saying, "Our position is that it is important to strengthen the legitimate political and security institutions in Iraq, and to develop an inclusive Iraq in which all citizens are treated equally. In so far as Iran's actions are not consistent with that, that is a bad thing, and we need to have Iran doing the correct things in supporting Iraq."