Tehran is strongly against any military intervention in Syria as well as the arming of the opposition [in the Arab country].” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-AbdollahianIran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran opposes any bid aimed at bringing about a regime change in Syria as well as foreign military intervention in the Arab country. “Tehran is strongly against any military intervention in Syria as well as the arming of the opposition [in the Arab country],” Amir-Abdollahian said at a press conference in Cairo on Wednesday. He added that the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition about the country’s future should be held without foreign interference. Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that any initiative which calls for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “will end in failure.” The Iranian diplomat pointed to a Tuesday meeting of representatives from Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to discuss the Syrian crisis and noted that the areas of agreement among the members of the quartet outweigh those of disagreement and they would proceed with cooperation based on the commonalities. During an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi city of Mecca in mid-August, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi put forward a proposal for the establishment of a quartet group, comprising Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to help resolve the Syrian crisis. Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Tehran’s support for the Egyptian president’s initiative and added that the participants at the Tuesday Cairo meeting agreed to continue the talks in the future. He said that during the talks in Cairo, the sides reached consensus on some principles pertaining to the unrest in Syria, including respecting the Arab nation’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, preventing foreign interference and not supporting armed operations.
During the talks in Cairo, Iran called for the inclusion of Iraq and Venezuela in the Egyptian-proposed contact group on Syria, saying that Baghdad and Carakas can contribute to the success of the quartet.Syria has been the scene of unrest since mid-March, 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside and accuses certain Western and regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, of arming and funding insurgents operating in the country. The opposition, however, accuses the security forces of being behind the violence. SF/HJL/MA