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Mideast, Asian nations vow support for Iran

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-21 19:48

This file photo taken on Aug 4, 2022 shows Ali Bagheri Kani leaving the Palais Coburg, the venue where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria. [Photo/Agencies]

Foreign Ministers from the Middle East and around Asia were quick to pledge their continued support to the caretaker of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani as he took office following the death of his immediate predecessor.

Bagheri Kani replaces Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who died in a helicopter crash along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and members of their delegation on May 19 in Varzaqan county near Iran's border with Azerbaijan.

Iran's Mehr News Agency reported that the acting foreign minister held phone conversations with his counterparts from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkiye, Jordan, and Kuwait on May 20.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu held a phone call with Bagheri Kani the same day, offering his deep condolences and sympathy.

Ma honored President Raisi's role in strengthening and deepening the strategic partnership between Iran and China and hailed the role of the late Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian in advancing the 25-year partnership treaty between Teheran and Beijing.

Bagheri Kani thanked the Chinese officials for sympathizing with Iran, calling for the promotion of comprehensive cooperation between the two countries and the close coordination of their foreign ministries on bilateral, regional, and international issues.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani offered condolences to his newly appointed counterpart, crediting the roles of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian in expanding relations between their two countries as "significant".

Al Thani reportedly expressed his hope that cooperation would continue "in all fields".

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan shared his condolences with Begheri Kani, who expressed hope that the mutual cooperation between Teheran and Riyadh would contribute to the security and stability of the region.

The two countries restored diplomatic relations last year in a deal brokered by China.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Yahya vowed to stand by the Iranian government and the people of Iran at this difficult time, while Bagheri Kani emphasized the need for continuing the path of good relations between their countries.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan emphasized the need for the continuation of cooperation between the major countries of the Islamic world to stop the "genocide" being carried out by Israel in Gaza and support the people of Palestine.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also made a similar appeal.

India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar shared his condolences in a post on X.

"Deeply shocked to hear of the passing away of Iran's President Dr Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister H Amir-Abdollahian in the helicopter crash. Recall my many meetings with them, most recently in January 2024. Our condolences to their families. We stand with the people of Iran at (this) time of this tragedy," he wrote.

Gokhan Ereli, Gulf Studies coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkiye, noted that Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had previously said that there would be no power or management vacuum in Iran and that due to the country's state tradition and unique political structure.

"I do not anticipate any significant shift in foreign policy goals or methods. Similarly, the deaths of the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs will not significantly alter Iran's foreign policy, as they were primarily the executors of established state policy," said Ereli.

A statement released by Iran's Foreign Ministry on May 20, praised Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian for having "played a historic, effective and lasting role" in the history of the country's politics and foreign relations over the last three years.

The statement praised the "tireless efforts of the two precious martyrs".

Their achievements included "promoting Iran's status in the international system, bolstering convergence and consolidating bonds of friendship and affection" within the region, establishing constructive ties in the international system, and "supporting the establishment of justice at the regional and global levels".

The foreign ministry vowed to carry on its work.

"Undoubtedly, the martyrdom of the prominent servants of the country will not disrupt the diplomatic apparatus's determination in securing the national interests and playing an effective and constructive role for the Islamic Republic of Iran in regional and international equations," the statement continued.

"We appreciate the expression of human feelings and emotions by the heads of state and nations, prominent political and religious figures, and international organizations and their solidarity with the Iranian government and people," it added.

Xu Weiwei and Mike Gu in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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