Reinsalu and Iranian foreign minister discuss tensions in Middle East ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarifi and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarifi and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Minister of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu discussed the urgent need to ease tensions in the Middle East with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarifi in New Delhi, India on Wednesday.

Reinsalu expressed concern over Iran's destabilising steps in the region and called for refraining from such actions.

He said the increased tensions are a concern for the entire Middle East region and the world, and the solution must be a diplomatic one.

"We cannot allow any more civilian casualties. Downing the Ukrainian passenger plane is a tragedy that affects many nations and our thoughts are with the families of victims, "he said. "I call on Iran to fully cooperate to ensure an independent investigation of the crash."

Reinsalu said that as a member of the UN Security Council, Estonia would listen to all parties and help find a solution through various channels, however, he stressed that the United States had the right to protect its citizens and coalition partners. "I reiterated this point on Saturday in my phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo," he added.

Iran blamed "human error" for shooting down a Ukrainian domestic passenger plane shortly after take-off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport earlier this month.  

Tensions rose in the region between the U.S. and Iran after the U.S. killed a high ranking Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike. Iran fired missiles at a U.S. base several days later and on the same night shot down the plane killing more than 170 passengers.

The foreign minister also called on Iran to meet its obligations of refraining from obtaining a nuclear weapon and complete cooperation with states included in the nuclear agreement.

He asked his Iranian colleague for clarification on a recent news story claiming that the President of Iran said the European troops deployed in the Middle East may be in danger after the United Kingdom, France and Germany launched the dispute resolution mechanism of the Iran nuclear agreement.

Reinsalu is in New Delhi to attend the Raisina Dialogue conference, where he will give a keynote speech on Estonia's role in the UN Security Council in 2020 and 2021.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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