India could play a part in the de-escalation of tension in the Gulf region, said Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday. The remarks came amid heightened tension between Tehran and the United States following the assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3.
“India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player,” Zarif said in an interview with PTI.
Soleimani’s assassination triggered renewed tensions between the United States and Iran. He was the head of the elite Quds Force. Tehran also accidentally shot down a passenger aircraft, killing 176 people.
As a response to Soleiman’s killing by the United States, Iran launched an attack on two airbases housing United States soldiers in Iraq on January 8. In another attack on an Iraqi airbase on January 13, at least four Iraqi soldiers were injured after rockets hit an airbase north of Baghdad, where US troops have been stationed. However, it is unclear whether the second attack was initiated by Iran.
On January 8, Iran’s envoy to India Ali Chegeni said his country would welcome any peace initiative by India to defuse tensions with the United States. A day later, the Ministry of External Affairs of India had appealed for de-escalation as soon as possible, and claimed that it was in contact with key players in the Gulf region.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also accepted that deescalation was the only solution to resolve the crisis with America. “We agreed...that the only solution to these crises is de-escalation from everyone and dialogue,” Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said after visiting Rouhani.