Iran to stand by Iraq, Syria in anti-terror fight: Official
A senior Iranian official has reiterated the Islamic Republic’s support for Syria and Iraq in their fight against terrorism, stressing that there is “no military solution” to the ongoing crises gripping the two Arab countries.
In an exclusive interview with PressTV, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said Iran will continue to stand by Syria and Iraq in their anti-terror battles at the behest of the governments in Baghdad and Damascus.
“The security of [the] region is the security of Iran,” said Velayati, adding, “If Iraq or Syria or any other neighboring country is in danger…, we should not remain indifferent. So…on the base of the request of the legal governments of Baghdad and Damascus, we have tried to help these two governments to fight against terrorism.”
Referring to the international talks on the crisis in Syria, Velayati said the Islamic Republic only supports intra-Syrian dialogue aimed at ending the violence in the Arab state, rejecting any negotiations with terror groups.
The Iranian official further emphasized that it is up to Syrians themselves to decide the future of their country.
The comments come as diplomatic efforts are underway at the international level to help resolve the deadly turmoil which has claimed over 250,000 lives in Syria since 2011.
Three rounds of UN-backed negotiations have so far been held in Vienna and New York on the situation in Syria since October. A fourth session is also scheduled to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in late January.
The participating states, including Iran, are trying to work out a list of legitimate opposition groups, as opposed to terrorists, in Syria to engage in talks with the government in Damascus.
The UN Security Council on December 18 adopted a resolution supporting an international roadmap for peace in Syria. The resolution called for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and the formation of a “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian” government within six months and UN-supervised “free and fair elections” within 18 months.
Velayati, who is also the president of the Center for Strategic Research of Iran’s Expediency Council, further hailed Russia’s military engagement against terrorists in Syria, which came at the request of the legitimate Syrian government.
‘Israel, US behind Islamophobia campaign’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Velayati said the US and some Western countries, along with the Zionist regime, are taking advantage of the Daesh terror group as a tool to spread Islamophobia across the world.
“This negative propaganda comes from some Western countries, specifically the United States, and also from the Zionist regime. Islam is the religion of kindness and humanity and brotherhood,” said the Iranian official.
‘UN must act on Saudi crimes’
Velayati further touched on the Saudi regime’s ongoing military campaign against neighboring Yemen, calling on the United Nations to take prompt action against Riyadh’s illegal aggression against innocent civilians in the Arabian Peninsula state.
Yemenis gather at the site of a reported Saudi airstrike targeting the outskirts of the capital Sana’a, December 29, 2015. ©AFP
Intra-Yemeni dialogue, Velayati said, is the only way out of the conflict in Yemen, stressing that foreign countries, including the Al Saud kingdom, should stay out of the conflict and stop interfering in the country’s domestic affairs.
Yemen has been under military attacks and a blockade by Saudi Arabia since late March. More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since then.
The Saudi strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools and factories.