TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres on being appointed as the next secretary-general on the United Nations, urging the world body’s more active role in fighting extremism.

In a message to Guterres on Thursday, Foreign Minister Zarif called for the UN’s battle again violent extremism and its more effective role in finding peaceful ways out of conflicts in Syria and Yemen which would also comply with the will of the people.

Zarif also referred to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), as a source of hope for the region, asking the new UN chief to contribute to the full implementation of the deal and strong commitment to the agreement by all parties.

The 193-member UN General Assembly unanimously appointed Guterres on Thursday as the ninth UN secretary-general for five years beginning January 1, 2017.

Guterres, 67, will replace Ban Ki-moon, 72, of South Korea. Ban will step down at the end of 2016 after serving two terms.

Guterres was Portugal's prime minister from 1995 to 2002 and UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015.