Tehran rejects Arab League claims about Iran’s ‘meddling’ in Syria
Iran has dismissed the recent allegations by the Arab League chief that Tehran is “interfering” in the internal affairs of Syria.
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, on Wednesday rejected the recent remarks made by Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit as groundless and a repetition of unfounded allegations against the Islamic Republic.
In a recent interview, the Arab League chief accused Iran of having a hand in the Syrian crisis.
“The continuation of the regrettable and heart-wrenching situation in Syria is the result of the policies and interference of the governments that have been acting against the legal and established government of Syria, and equip, train and nurture terrorists in the name of fighting terrorism and cause destruction, homelessness and killing of the country’s children,” the Iranian official said.
He also stressed the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the Syrian people’s right to determine their fate.
Qassemi called on the Arab League chief to avoid adopting “unconstructive and unrealistic approaches” and instead review the complicated situation of the region to help foster unity among regional nations and find effective solutions to the plight gripping the Middle East.
More than 400,000 people have been killed in the foreign-backed crisis in Syria which started in March 2011, according to estimates by the UN special envoy for the Arab country, Staffan de Mistura.
Syria blames certain regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, for sponsoring militants fighting the Damascus government.
Mina tragedy proved inefficiency of Saudi rulers
Also on Wednesday, Qassemi reacted to remarks by the secretary general of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, who accused Iran of politicizing the Hajj rituals.
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes what befell pilgrims during last year’s Hajj clearly showed the inefficiency and inability of the Saudi rulers to handle the huge rituals of Hajj, the Iranian official said.
Zayani has reportedly praised Saudi Arabia’s handling of the Hajj rituals, and threw the [P]GCC’s weight behind the Riyadh government.
Qassemi said by playing a blame game over the tragic incident, Saudi Arabia cannot shirk its responsibility and whitewash its inefficiency in handling the Hajj rituals.
At least 465 Iranian pilgrims lost their lives during the stampede, which occurred after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina near the holy city of Mecca during the rituals on September 24, 2015.
Riyadh has refused to update the death toll of 770 it released days after the incident, but Iran, which had the greatest number of deaths among foreign nationals, has put the death toll at about 4,700.
Just days before the Mina tragedy, a massive construction crane collapsed onto the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing more than 100 people, including a number of Iranians, and leaving over 200 others wounded.
In a message to Hajj pilgrims on Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Saudi rulers were to blame for the deaths of thousands of pilgrims in both incidents during last year’s rituals.