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No country entitled to 'arbitrary' moves against others: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says no country has the right to arbitrarily carry out punitive measures against other countries without observing international regulations.

In a phone call with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Sunday, Zarif denounced the "arbitrary, illegal and unilateral" move by the United States, Britain and France to attack Syria.

In the early hours of Saturday, the three Western states launched a barrage of missile attacks against Syria in response to what they claimed to be a chemical attack in the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta region on April 7. Syria said it had intercepted most of the missiles.

The fresh strikes by the US marked the second time that President Donald Trump has authorized attacks on Syria.

He ordered a missile strike against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province on April 7, 2017. Trump claimed back then that the air field had been the origin of a suspected sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.

This is while Syria turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.

The top Iranian diplomat once again expressed the Islamic Republic's opposition to the use of any type of chemical weapons.

He criticized the West's dual approaches to the use of chemical weapons and said the regime of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, had carried out chemical attacks against Iran during the Iraqi-imposed war with the support of Washington, London and Paris.

"The two attacks conducted against Syria under the pretext of chemical weapons came exactly at a juncture that the Syrian army has the upper hand against terrorists and has pushed them to the brink of defeat," Zarif said.

Iran has repeatedly announced that armed terrorist groups are in possession of chemical weapons in Syria, he emphasized.

In a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced recent airstrikes against Syria, saying such attacks ran contrary to the principles of international law and were considered as a blatant sign of support for terrorism.

"At a time that terrorists are suffering a defeat in Syria on a daily basis, such aggressive act certainly means support for these defeated groups," Rouhani said.

Also on Saturday, the UN Security Council rejected Russia’s draft resolution condemning the airstrikes by the US-led military coalition on Syria.

The resolution was rejected at an emergency meeting of the Security Council that convened at Moscow’s request, with three votes in favor, eight votes against and four abstentions.

The one-page draft resolution, read by Russia’s Permanent Envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya, condemned the military action against Syria and called on the three Western countries to "halt the aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic immediately and without any delay" and refrain from further use-of-force actions in violation of the UN Charter.

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