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Crushing response awaits those troubling Iran presence in Syria: Foreign Ministry

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

Amid news of Israeli adventurism targeting Iranian interests in Syria, the Foreign Ministry warns that Iran will deliver a “crushing response” to any party seeking to trouble the Islamic Republic’s presence in the Arab country.

Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh made the remarks on Sunday, during a press briefing that was held via a video conference.

He refused to verify media reports alleging Israeli strikes against the Iranian targets or confirm any Iranian casualties, but asserted, “Iran has never compromised with anyone over [the issue of] its national security.”

“Anyone, who could try to obstruct Iran’s advisory presence in Syria will be served with a crushing response,” the official added. The Israeli regime, he said, “knows this that the era of hitting and running is far over. It [therefore] treads carefully.”

However, Tel Aviv’s aggressive attitude is “irremediable” and can only be confronted with comprehensive resistance on every front where it seeks to create disturbances, Khatibzadeh said.

The Islamic Republic was the first country to rush to Syria’s assistance after the Arab nation came under the scourge of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in 2014.

The outfit is widely believed to have received logistical backing from the US. Ever since emerging in Syria and neighboring Iraq, it has also been boosted on numerous occasions thanks to Israeli airstrikes targeting Syrian defenses and Damascus’ allies.

‘Arab betrayal boosting US pro-Israel work’

Separately, Khatibzadeh commented on Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to the occupied territories, his last in his capacity as the US secretary of state, and the remarks that he made during the visit.

Speaking to Israeli paper The Jerusalem Post, Pompeo boasted during the visit about US President Donald Trump administration’s brokering of “peace deals” between Tel Aviv and regional Arab states. The top diplomat alleged that the raft of “normalization” deals had led to “isolation” of Iran.

Khatibzadeh regretted the “treachery” of the Arab regimes – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan – in their entering the détente with Tel Aviv.

Without their betrayal, he said, Pompeo would not have been able to go about “whitewashing inhumane Israeli action” today.

“Those who created such [enabling] atmosphere for the US should be held accountable,” the spokesman said, calling the betrayal and the White House’s unabashed defense of the Tel Aviv regime “two sides of the same coin.”

The spokesperson said the Arab states were no more than a handful of “notorious” regimes that were isolated even among their own peoples, calling it unlikely that they could draw much benefit from endearing themselves to the US and Israel.

Saudi backing for US anti-Yemen bid

Khatibzadeh, meanwhile, referred to reports about the United States’ potential designation of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement as a “terrorist organization.”

The popular defense group has been fending for Yemen since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies started a US-backed invasion of the impoverished country. The invasion has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the scene of the world’s “worse humanitarian crisis.”

Observers say such designation that has already been received warmly by Saudi Arabia could hugely embolden Riyadh in its atrocities in Yemen.

Khatibzadeh said the Saudi support for the blacklisting “comes as no surprise” as Riyadh has been stonewalling efforts aimed at ending Yemen’s crisis.

He cited some instances of the kingdom’s atrocities against the Arab world’s poorest nation such as the use of cluster bombs against civilians and bombarding some areas of Yemen on more than 17 occasions.

The Islamic Republic, however, considers respect for the Yemeni people’s demands, intra-Yemeni negotiation and adherence to standing international conflict-resolution mechanisms as the only viable solution for the crisis, Khatibzadeh stated.

‘No easy future for Iran-US ties’

The spokesman was also asked about the likelihood of the next US administration’s return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - an international nuclear accord between Iran and world countries that Washington deserted under Trump in 2018 - and potential US-Iranian interaction in such event.

He said it was too early to pass any comments in this regard given the fact that the next administration was yet to take over in the United States.

However, what Iran was concerned with was Washington’s behavior not its words, he said.

Besides, any future interactive process between the countries would not be an “easy” one given the litany of the US’s atrocities against the Iranian nation since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the official said.

“Iran will never forget such antagonism. Our demands from the US stay the same,” Khatibzadeh noted.

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