IRAN’S Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says all Iranian people are in ‘the same boat’ and must stand united against ‘hegemonic powers’ seeking to cause division among the nation.

‘Iranians, regardless of their political, religious or ethnic inclinations, are aboard the same boat,’ Zarif stressed in a Thursday post on his Instagram.

The Iranian top diplomat said national ‘unity and sympathy is the secret behind the victories of and progresses made by the great nation of Iran over the past four decades.

‘It is also the main reason behind the failures of hegemonic powers, who seek to secure their interests by creating division among the Iranian society,’ he went on to say.

Zarif said the hegemonic powers still believe they can secure their interests by ‘exporting arms to regional states, destabilising West Asia and exerting maximum pressure on the great nation of Iran.’

However, he added, these unwise powers will achieve nothing by exerting pressure on Iran thanks to the ‘mutual trust between the Iranian nation and government as well as the growing will on the side of the Iranian officials to fulfil their duties within the law.’

Zarif further thanked the Iranian nation for their great support for him following his resignation decision last Monday, and appreciated the supportive remarks made by IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani and President Hassan Rouhani.

He also thanked the ‘wise’ Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his ‘fatherly kindness and munificence’, saying that all the support he received has now doubled his determination to safeguard the country’s national interests.

Then on Wednesday Rouhani officially rejected Zarif’s resignation, saying it ran ‘against’ and ‘contrary to’ national interests.

Then, in a letter addressed to Zarif, Rouhani noted that the top diplomat has been standing on the frontline of resistance against the US pressure campaign.

‘I consider accepting your resignation against the country’s interests and therefore, refuse to accept,’ Rouhani told Zarif, who had unexpectedly announced his resignation via Instagram  last Monday night.

Rouhani further highlighted the expressions of happiness by the ‘sworn enemies’ of Iran, such as the Israeli regime, over Zarif’s intention to step down, which he said serve as the ‘best evidence’ of the top diplomat’s success in performing his duties and the ‘main reason’ why he should stay in office.

A majority of Iranian MPs have also signed a letter to President Rouhani, calling on him to reject Foreign Minister Zarif’s resignation.

Separately last Wednesday, General Soleimani said that Zarif has the backing of senior Iranian officials, especially the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

General Soleimani further described the top Iranian diplomat as the person in charge of Iran’s foreign policy.

‘Mr Zarif is responsible for the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. During his tenure at the Foreign Ministry, he has always enjoyed the support and approval of senior officials, particularly the Leader of the Islamic Revolution,’ he said.

‘He has taken valuable steps towards preserving national interests at different levels and cooperated in the fight against the sworn enemies of the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian nation,’ the commander said.

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has also called on both Pakistan and India to exercise restraint, following recent tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Zarif told his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a phone conversation last Wednesday that Tehran was ready to work with Islamabad and New Delhi to help resolve their differences through dialogue.

The Iranian FM was scheduled to talk to Indian Foreign Minister Vijay Keshav Gokhale over the phone later in the day.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated dramatically since February 14, when Indian paramilitary forces on the New Delhi-controlled side of Kashmir were hit by a deadly bomb attack orchestrated by Pakistan-based militants.

The tensions reached a peak last Tuesday, when India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said his country had conducted ‘pre-emptive’ airstrikes against what it described as a militant training camp in Balakot near Kashmir, shortly after the Pakistani military accused New Delhi of violating its territory in the Kashmir region.

Such fresh escalations has fuelled fears of the two nuclear-armed neighbours slipping back into a fully-fledged war over disputed Kashmir.

According to an Indian government source, some 300 militants, were killed in the strikes.

Earlier last Wednesday, Pakistan said it had shot down two Indian military jets and captured two of their pilots after the aircraft breached its airspace.

Iran, which has extensive diplomatic and trade ties with both countries, has advised them against escalating the situation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said last Tuesday that, as a victim of terror, Iran views bolstering full cooperation among nations without discrimination as the only way to tackle terrorism and extremism around the world.

  • Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit Damascus.

The Syrian ambassador to Tehran conveyed the invitation to Zarif during a telephone conversation last Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zarif held a telephone conversation with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem to discuss the latest developments in bilateral ties and exchange views following Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Iran last Monday.

During his trip, Assad held talks with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Ayatollah Khamenei said in the meeting that the Islamic Republic was honoured to support Syria, which he said was equal to supporting the entire resistance front.

And Ayatollah Khamenei has said that Iran is proud of supporting Syria and considers it as equal to supporting the anti-Israel resistance.

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasised that the triumph of the resistance front in Syria had made Americans angry and prompted them to hatch new plots, adding: ‘The issue of the buffer zone, which Americans seek to establish in Syria, is among those dangerous plots that must be categorically rejected and stood against.’

Khamenei reiterated that the Islamic Republic of Iran would continue to stand by the Syrian nation, adding: ‘Through resistance and cooperation of its people, Syria managed to stand fast against a big coalition consisting of America, Europe and their allies in the region and emerge triumphant from this crisis.’

The Syrian president, for his part, lauded Iran’s unwavering support for his country, saying that the Syrian war was similar to the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war against Iran during the 1980s.

Rouhani said in his meeting with Assad that the Islamic Republic was ready to help Syria with its reconstruction plans and restore stability to the war-ravaged country.

Iran’s President Rouhani also said that Tehran is resolved to help Syria with its reconstruction plans and restore stability to the war-torn country.

Pointing to ‘highly valuable and important’ achievements gained by the Syrian government and army in their battle against terrorists, Rouhani said: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has always stood by the Syrian nation and government in the fight against terrorism in Syria and has spared no efforts in this regard.’

Assad, for his part, said that the Syrian government and nation were always thankful for Iran’s support for Damascus in the campaign against terrorists while lauding Tehran’s efforts to restore security to Syria and the entire Middle East region.

Over the past years, Iran has been lending military advisory support to the Syrian military in its battle against militants and Takfiri terrorists. The foreign-backed groups started a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against the Arab country in 2011.