Zarif made the remark while addressing a ceremony marking Day of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tehran late on Tuesday, saying Iran believes in strong neighborhood policy as the world countries can reach their goals by having powerful neighbors.
“Iran believes in a strong neighborhood. We believe that through a strong neighborhood we will be able to achieve our goals much easier and much better than individually,” Zarif said.
“We need to recommit ourselves to cooperation both within the membership of ECO as well as between ECO and other regional organizations and between ourselves… Iran is interested in maintaining the same type of relations that it has with its ECO partners and extending it to our partners in the Persian Gulf region,” he added.
Zarif pointed to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s new initiative for peace in the Strait of Hormuz and in the region, named Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), and said, “It’s the foundation of our policy which is based on good neighborliness and respect for international law and mutual respect and mutual benefit.”
Stressing that Tehran was willing to have the same cooperation with the Persian Gulf littoral states as it has with ECO members, the top Iranian diplomat said, “All of us will benefit from cooperation and all of us will suffer from competition, from conflict from instability and from insecurity.”
ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization which was established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the member states.
In 1992, the organization was expanded to include seven new members. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are currently ECO member states.