Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking at a meeting of ECO Council of Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, on Tuesday, has emphasized that foreign intervention, terrorism, and extremism have destabilized many parts of our wider region.

Zarif also warned: "Geopolitics of the region has become ever more complicated mostly due to uncertainties and persistent challenges ".  He added:  "The mutually reinforcing foreign intervention and terrorism and extremism have destabilized many parts of our wider region for close to two decades. Violent extremism continues to represent a threat to the ECO region.  Despite the territorial defeat of Daesh and other terrorist groups, extensive networks of extremist groups, especially Daesh in West, South and Central Asia, represent the most serious threat to the ECO region."

In further remarks Zarif said:  "Our destinies are intertwined as members of one region; failure or success in one part of this region will impact all of us. Our cooperation is facilitated not just because of our geographical proximity, but also many affinities in so many areas, including civilization, culture, religion and shared history. We are all sitting in the same boat facing the same challenges and opportunities."

The Iranian foreign minister warned: "We need to synergize and forge a common regional strategy to halt the spread of their ideology of hate and cut their financial resources. My government is always ready to cooperate in devising a comprehensive counter-extremism and counter-terrorism strategy that fits the situation in our region.  ECO is a unique multilateral platform to mobilize our individual resources to meet collective objectives and confront common transnational calamities. Together, we can establish a strong ECO region."

Turning to Iran's economy, Zarif said:  "In recent years, Iran’s economy has demonstrated that it has great potential for expansion and growth. Economic sanctions not only did not impede Iran, but instead solidified popular resolve to enhance domestic capacities. Achieving a good growth rate last year proved that the Iranian economy can become one of the most vibrant emerging economies in the world over the next twenty years".

Iran's foreign minister added: "We strongly believe that economy and security can only grow together, and common interests can bind us regionally and globally to guarantee both regional and global security."

The 23rd Meeting of the ECO Council of Foreign Ministers (COM), opened in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on Tuesday.