“On the Syria issue, we have made all our efforts to establish security and stability in the region and we are ready to use all our capacities in this regard,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said in his weekly press conference in Tehran today.
He described Iran’s role in the settlement of the regional crises as undeniable, and said, “Due to this fact, (UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria) Kofi Annan made his second trip to Tehran to use Iran’s viewpoints on the settlement of the crisis in Syria.”
Voicing Iran’s readiness to mediate meetings between the Syrian government and opposition, Mehman-Parast said, “We believe that the demands of the opposition and of those who are pursuing some rights in Syria should be raised in proper conditions, but without the interference of the foreign forces and imposition of their formulae, and the necessary measures should also be adopted proportionate to demands and based on what the majority of people want.”
He blasted the western states for their meddling in Syria, and said, “Certain trans-regional countries attempt to lead the situation in Syria towards a civil war or crisis which is not acceptable.”
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Tehran’s readiness to hold meetings with the Syrian dissidents in a move to facilitate talks between the opposing parties in the Muslim country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to have meetings with Syrian dissidents to invite them to Iran in a bid to prepare and facilitate the ground for talks between the Syrian dissidents and government,” Salehi told reporters.
Stressing the importance of finding a Syrian solution to the crisis in the Arab country, he said no foreign prescription and government should be imposed on the Syrians.
Salehi expressed the hope that the problems in Syria would be resolved through cooperation among the regional states, and said, “We hope that such cooperation will be extended through cooperation among Iran, the UN and certain regional states and an effective step will be taken to solve Syria’s problem.”
Tehran has repeatedly offered to help resolve the crisis, but this has been opposed by the US and its allies which support rebel and terrorist groups in the country. At the insistence of the US, Iran was left off the guest list of Annan’s multinational “action group” meeting on Syria in Geneva late last month, where the participating nations approved a communiqué outlining broad parameters for a “transitional” government.
Earlier this month, Annan was in Tehran in a visit which signaled Iran’s key role in resolving the Syrian crisis. The former UN chief tried to rescue his peace plan for Syria by seeking help from Iran.
Prior to his Tehran visit, Annan said despite Washington’s harsh rhetoric, Iran is a main actor in the Syrian issue that “cannot be ignored”.
Annan told France’s Le Monde daily that Iran should be involved in discussions.
“Russia wields influence but I am not sure that the events will be determined by Russia alone…. Iran is an actor. It has to be part of the solution. It has influence and we cannot ignore it.”
Analysts believe that Annan’s visit may signal some new role for Iran in resolving the Syrian crisis.
In a statement, Annan said he had come to Iran “to see how we can work together to help settle the situation in Syria”.
The trip suggests that Annan is eager to have Tehran on board for any possible peace deal or transitional governing plan that may emerge for Syria. He has said repeatedly that Iran is an important regional power and should be involved in a resolution of the Syrian crisis.
Annan also expressed irritation that while Russia and Iran were mentioned by some as stumbling blocks to peace, “little is said about other countries which send arms, money, and have a presence on the ground.”
The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad’s government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.
The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.
According to the report, material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border.
Opposition activists who three months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May that the flow of weapons – most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past – has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.