Zarif delivered a speech at a ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the foundation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held in Tehran on Wednesday.
Following are excerpts of his remarks at the event:
“In the Name of God;
In an era when multilateralism is at stake, and while unilateralism is destroying our achievements of the past seven decades, observing the success of ASEAN, which has brought together some major Asian countries, is a sign of hope.
ASEAN is composed of people who can think of a better future, not only for their own citizens, but also for the citizens of the global community.
ASEAN is celebrating its 52nd birthday today, providing a valuable lesson about gathering around and synergy for progress together with each other.
ASEAN is a good example that we can act better, either collectively or individually, particularly for us in this region where some have tried to purchase security from abroad and rely on foreign countries.
I paid a visit to Singapore to sign the document on Iran’s membership in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, which is a good sign and testimony of our willingness to cooperate with the Asian friends.
We are interested in expanding the grounds for cooperation with the ASEAN member states. We are also willing to promote cooperation between regional organizations, such as ASEAN and ECO.
I want to tell the friends and the neighbors that there is nothing to prevent our cooperation and partnership. Nothing could hinder our bonds for cooperation. We must know that others would never protect us, and could never ensure our security either. ASEAN is a good and successful example for us and for the neighbors to learn a lesson that we can shape a better future for the people and the region with cooperation and commitment.
It is important to show that self-esteem and working with own people have always proved more successful.
We in Iran have great respect for the ASEAN countries. We respect your successes. If you want to be respected, you must respect yourself, and ASEAN is a good example of respect for self. We seek to promote cooperation with the ASEAN in all fields.
We are keen to become ASEAN’s partner for dialogue. We want to announce that the Islamic Republic of Iran looks for cooperation and reaching the dialogue partnership stage.
We believe that we can forge a real partnership with ASEAN.”
ASEAN is a political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia. It was formed on August 8, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.