Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country is prepared to strengthen cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people.
“Humanitarian issues should not be used as an excuse for either side of the conflict [in Syria] to achieve their political objectives,” Zarif said in a meeting with ICRC President Peter Maurer in Tehran on Tuesday.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. According to some reports, over 150,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.
More than 2.6 million Syrian people have fled the country, with large numbers being taken in by Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and others.
According to a UNHCR report, the number of Syrian refugees who have left the country and registered in Lebanon has surpassed one million while some 668,000 people fled to Jordan and some 589,000 others are in Turkey.
In another meeting on Tuesday, the ICRC president and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the dispatch of humanitarian aid to crisis-hit countries in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
Maurer said the ICRC is opposed to politicizing humanitarian issues.
Amir-Abdollahian, for his part, said the deterioration of the situation in Syria is the result of foreign countries’ support for terrorist groups, adding humanitarian affairs should not be politicized.