Press TV has conducted an interview with Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, an independent researcher and writer, from California, about Syria’s handing in a plan to dismantle its chemical weapons.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: So far, so good, what do you make of the way things have progressed with regards to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal?
Sepahpour: Good morning to you. Things are progressing very well and Syria has upheld its end of the bargain; but I am sure that your viewers would know it is not so easy to get rid of chemical weapons.
Both the United States and Russia, in fact signed a treaty in the 90s and still they have not gotten rid of their chemical stockpile. Admittedly, they had a lot more than that Syria does, but the deadline of destroying the chemical weapons by 2014 is very unrealistic.
I think that the United States and perhaps Russia have come to this realization, because there are many countries that are even reluctant to participate to destroy these chemical weapons.
Press TV: When you put it into context with regards to the situation right now in Syria, the Syrian government is doing its utmost to show as much transparency as possible and through this it is gaining a lot of support and traction amongst the International Community.
How do you see things going forth now that even the Geneva II conference looks in jeopardy?
Sepahpour: The fact that the Syrian government has upheld its bargain does not reflect what the others involved in this game are doing. Even as we speak or at least it was out a couple of weeks ago that the CIA is still arming the rebels in Syria and they call them the more moderate rebels, we know, Saudi Arabia is still funding … funds to the more fundamental of the rebels.
Many of the rebels do … , you now, they set down preconditions, some do not want to come to table to Geneva II talks and some have set down conditions and they want [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad removed.
That is not going to go down too well; I do not think Mr. Assad is about to hand over the country to a bunch of basically terror speakers. There is every indication; many people are of the opinion that many of these Syrian rebels are in fact responsible for the chemical weapons that actually killed so many people in Syria.
So, even at that, he worked with international community, he worked with Russia and he worked with the United States to keep his country in good hands and to prevent war.
That said, the rebels are not of the same opinion, frankly it does not seem as if they care about Syrian nationals; they do not seem to care about Syria.
So, it is going to be a problem; Mr. Assad has established his credibility … but the rebels have been, from the very onset, the problem and they continue to be the problem.
Press TV: And very quickly if you can, you would say that no matter how transparency is, the West and its allies are going to continue, try to achieve their goal of regime change in Syria?
Sepahpour: I absolutely believe that it was initiated by them to overthrow Mr. Assad and I do not think they are going to give up midway. They would very much like to see Mr. Assad removed from power.
I do not know if that is going to be the case, I do not think Mr. Assad is ready to leave his country when he has the support of the vast majority of the Syrian people. He is not going to leave because Americans and Saudis have unleashed terrorists into his country.