Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with President Saakashvili and his Georgian counterpart, Eka Tkeshelashvili, in Tbilisi on September 17.
Mottaki’s visit to Tbilisi follows his trips to Russia, Azerbaijan and Germany. And on September 16 he met with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian; the latter was in Tbilisi on September 12.
“Our work is not mediation,” the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, quoted Mottaki as saying after meeting his Georgian counterpart. He also added that “presenting ideas can help find a solution to the crisis.”
Mottaki also said that the August events in Georgia were “regrettable” and Iran was closely following developments “given our sensitivity towards restoration of security and stability” in this region.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in its press statement on September 17 that Iran “as one of the leading countries in the region can perform a positive role in terms of the strengthening of regional safety.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement on September 16, released after the Mottaki-Nalbandian meeting, that the meeting, like the foreign minister's trips to Russia, Azerbaijan and Germany, was part of Iran’s diplomatic efforts aimed at “easing tension in the Caucasus region.”
“In the aftermath of the Georgia war, Iran has started an initiative by making visits to Russia and Azerbaijan to mediate peace in the Caucasus region. He [Mottaki] also met with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, [on September 15] to encourage European countries to help solve the Caucasus crisis,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Assistance Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said at a news conference in Tbilisi late in the afternoon on September 17 that he did not know much about the Iranian foreign minister's visit to Georgia, because “I just learned this – an hour or so ago.”
“What is clear is that the United States is increasingly active and engaged in a profound way in the South Caucasus as we’ve seen in the recent weeks,” Bryza said. “Perhaps it’s interesting that Iran feels it needs to follow our lead. Our friendship with Georgia is deep; it is based on shared values and common strategic interests and we will move forward together in that spirit.”