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US missile strikes on Syria set dangerous precedent: Iran FM

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States’ recent missile strikes against a Syrian army airbase are a breach of international law and set a “dangerous precedent.”

“Two important events occurred. One of them was the killing of a number of Syrian people due to the use of chemical weapons, which was very painful for us and we condemn it,” Zarif said in a meeting with Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén in Tehran on Saturday.

At least 86 people were killed in a gas attack in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib Province. Anti-Damascus militants and Western countries rushed to blame Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the incident, without providing any evidence to support their accusations.

“And the second incident was the US missile attacks on Syria, which are in contravention of the principles of international law and a dangerous precedent,” Zarif said.

In addition to acting against international law, the US committed a bigger mistake as it carried out the attacks “without any investigation,” he said.

He warned that terrorists would later take advantage of the issue to engage others in clashes whenever they are in a weak position.

“If terrorists feel that the US will act only on the basis of an allegation, they will again repeat their heinous measures,” Zarif said.

He warned against the spillover of terrorism and extremism in the world and stressed the importance of increasing dialogue and common understanding among religions in an effort to help improve international security.

Using the Idlib tragedy as a pretext, US President Donald Trump ordered the country’s warships in the eastern Mediterranean to carry out a missile attack on Syria. They launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat Airfield in Syria’s Homs Province early on Friday.

Syria denounced the US assault as a “blatant aggression” that killed up to 15 people, including civilians, and caused “significant material damage.”

 

Elsewhere in his talks, the top Iranian diplomat said the Islamic Republic welcomed the expansion of relations with Hungary in various sectors of energy, transportation, education and tourism.

Zarif urged the two countries’ private sectors to boost cooperation, particularly in the economic field and said Tehran and Budapest needed to bolster banking cooperation.

Only dialogue can solve Syrian crisis: Semjén

The Hungarian official, for his part, stressed the importance of fighting terrorism and extremism to establish a secure world.

He added that there was no solution but dialogue to the Syrian crisis.

Semjén also on Saturday held discussions with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani about ways to improve economic, parliamentary and regional cooperation.

He said no obstacle could hinder the expansion of mutual relations, particularly after the implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in July 2015.

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