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Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:41PM
Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (R) attends the opening of the Arab League summit in Doha on March 26, 2013.

Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (R) attends the opening of the Arab League summit in Doha on March 26, 2013.

Iran has criticized the Arab League (AL) for giving Syria's seat to the foreign-backed opposition, warning that the move will set a “dangerous” precedence in the Arab world. This hasty decision can turn into a new procedure and be applied to other Arab League member states in the future, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday. “This measure taken by the Arab League will be taken to mean the end of the [Arab] League’s role in the region,” he noted. The Iranian official also advised Arab leaders to end their silence toward Israel's aggression and crimes and focus their efforts on supporting the Palestinian people. In November 2011, the Arab League suspended Syria's membership, though Damascus is a founding member of the organization. It consequently called on the opposition National Coalition on March 6 "to form an executive body to take up Syria's seat" at the AL summit scheduled for Tuesday in the Qatari capital of Doha. Damascus has censured the decision and condemned the Arab League for giving the country's "stolen seat to bandits and thugs," Syrian government daily al-Thawra said in a report published on Monday. Iraq and Algeria are the only countries that have expressed reservations about the decision, while Lebanon has opposed the move. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of militants are foreign nationals. Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants. MRS/SS
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