‘We support Syria but don’t send them arms’ – Iranian deputy FM
US threats against Iran are for domestic consumption says Iran’s Deputy FM for Arab and Africa Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian.
The US is now in an election cycle and threats against Iran are intended to influence election results, shared Abdollahian.
He believes Israel is too weak now to conduct an offensive on Iran, so the US and Israel are trying to do the same from the back door, supplying Syrian opposition with arms.
RT: We're witnessing increased tension between the US and Israel against Iran. Give us your assessment of the recent statements by President Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu?
Hossein Amir Abdollahian: US-Israeli threats against Iran are not new; it's a repeating scenario involving the US and the Zionist country. What's important is that we understand the terms and conditions to which the US president is in an election cycle. These threats are for domestic consumption and are intended to influence election results.
Some of these threats relate to changes taking place in the Middle East, North Africa as well as the Arab revolutions which were led rather peacefully and quietly by the Muslim peoples. We’re currently witnessing political and security changes which have came as a response to popular demands that weakened America’s presence in the region and empowered resistance against Zionism and against repressive regimes.
Tel Aviv is in a very bad situation and Netanyahu is incapable of taking decisions or seriously thinking of attacking Iran. Should this unlikely attack ever happen; Israel would face dire consequences. They know this well, and Netanyahu’s statements reflect his fears because they are very weak now; Iran is much stronger than them, even in the current circumstances.
RT: What are the consequences of a possible attack by Israel on Iran?
HAA: We have different retaliatory options. However, we are not convinced that Israel has the capability to launch a military attack on Iran. We see it as unrealistic. Any move against us would be strongly responded to; and they would regret it.
RT: How do you perceive the situation in Syria? You're accused of sending weapons and elements from the Iranian army and the Revolutionary Guard to Syria. Is this true?
HAA: We have strategic relations with Syria, which we see as an important state in the resistance axis. Our historical ties with the people and government of Syria give us a good insight into the nature of the Syrian people, who, because of their resistance to US-Israeli domination, possess a deep sense of national unity. Contrary to what some parties say, we do not need to send weapons to Syria. We are simply articulating our support for the Syrian people and the reforms of President Bashar aL-Assad.
We have also said clearly that we recognize and understand the objectives of the US and Zionists in this vitally important Middle East country, and we would not allow America to use unrest in the country to install power structures that would upset the balance of power in the region, certainly not without the demand and will of the Syrian people, since America cares only for its own interests.
On the contrary, we have received accurate intelligence from allies that tens of US- Israeli backed trucks loaded with weapons have crossed Syria’s borders, bringing more danger to Syria. Fortunately, Syria and the Syrian people have been able to face-off foreign intervention over the past few months. The result was the public referendum on the Syrian constitution which was held peacefully.
We deny charges of sending weapons to Syria, which does not need our weapons, in our opinion. What Syria needs, above everything else, is political support in facing one-sided American sanctions, and it also needs the reforms executed there to be taken into due consideration. These are core points in Iran's policy towards Syria.
RT: How do you think the situation in Syria will end, and where is Syria heading?
HAA: Over the past three months, we believe Syria has gone through three basic phases. First, it managed to overcome the security chaos phase into which America, the Zionist regime, Western states, and unfortunately some Arab states, invested their knowledge, intelligence and mass media in an attempt to pursue their interests, but Syria managed to overcome this almost two months ago.
In the second phase, before the constitutional referendum, Syria managed to solve its security problems. That the Syrian people and government succeeded is evidenced by the constitutional poll.
The third phase marks the completion of Assad’s reforms. We should soon witness parliamentary elections as Syria heads towards stability and peace, which we are seeing across the country. The other parties played all their cards; but couldn’t make it work. Their goals centered on creating chaos in Syria.
What I say is confirmed by the results of the conference held by the so-called ‘Friends of Syria” in Tunis. They came out with nothing. We are optimistic and confident that the Syrian people and President Bashar al-Assad will succeed and will continue reforms while facing down foreign interventions and terrorism. For these reasons, the national dialogue process should look forward with confidence.
RT: If foreign troops get into Syria, would you be willing to defend it? What about Hezbollah's fate?
HAA: As the internationally-orchestrated crisis began in Syria, some spoke of foreign intervention. But once they saw the reality on the ground, they ceased such rhetoric. We strongly reject any foreign intervention in Syria and we do believe that Syria is capable of defending itself against any such intervention, given the constructive and positive steps taken by the regime and the support it receives from the Syrian people. In the case of a decision to militarily intervene in Syria, the region would face a serious crisis. Different parties would enter the conflict, serving neither Syria’s nor the Syrian people’s purposes nor the stability and security of the region and of the world.
RT: How different are the situations in Syria and in Bahrain? You declared your support for the Syrian president and, at the same time, called on the King of Bahrain to start reforms, saying the demands of the Bahraini people are legitimate. Does this mean the Syrian people's demands are illegitimate?
HAA: We take into consideration the different circumstances of each country, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. We follow the same policy with all. In all three countries we believe that the demands of the people should be taken into consideration and we also believe that political reforms should also take place. At the same time, we denounce any foreign intervention in these three states. It is also our belief that national dialogue is the only solution for these countries and that the governments should implement reforms necessary for national dialogue.
The difference between Syria and Bahrain is that part of the events in Syria is real, such as people's demands and their need for reforms. Like all other Arab states, Syria needs reforms and democracy. Yet, a greater part of the so-called events in Syria is artificial – initiated by foreign intervention, by flooding the country with weapons, manipulating regional change to weaken an important, resistant state.
Close examination of recent events in Syria clearly distinguish it from the Middle East and North Africa. For instance, the capital cities of these states were the center for people's protests and demands, while in Syria we see that Damascus was largely the scene of rallies supporting the regime. Even during the referendum, the highest turnout was in the capital. Moreover, protests in Syria began three-and-a-half months after the protests in other countries, and only along the borders. They started as armed movements aimed at creating civil war, and the anti-regime groups were soon supplied with weapons so that the protests could take their current form.
For these reasons we believe that the events in Syria differ from those in Yemen, Bahrain or Egypt. Above all, killing the Syrian people is a red line for us; and we denounce murderous operations conducted by both parties, as we do confirm the necessity of meeting the demands of the people.
RT: We witnessed the rise of Islamic parties to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. How will this affect the region?
HAA: We believe that great changes are taking place, in the light of the Islamic and Arab awakenings, which will eventually lead to a dismantling of pro-American regimes in the region. The West itself sees it like that. New players will come to the fore, from youth, different classes and elites. At the same time the Islamists are winning elections. New regional security arrangements in the region are emerging, besieging American and Zionist interests in the region, forcing them to step back and eventually, they will lose their dominant position.
As a result the US- Zionist alliance concentrates on Syria in an attempt to wipe out the regional resistance axis. We believe the Arab and Islamic awakening in the Middle East will eventually lead to greater democracy, security and stability, creating prosperity in a region that will enjoy tranquility and constructive relations with the international community, with no place for US-Zionist dominance.
RT: The Iranian elections marked another victory by the conservatives; does this mean nothing will change in Iran's domestic or foreign policy?
HAA: Iranian foreign policy is wise, stemming from the dignity and interest of the Islamic republic of Iran. It works with parameters of peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and plays an active role in changes enveloping the region and the world. Elections have shown once again the solidarity and disposition of the Iranian people. Reformists have always had an active political role to play. The expressed opinion of the electorate reflects their support for Iranian foreign policy.
Currently, the Iranian government’s objectives lie in achieving prosperity for our people, security for our country and for the region. We are working to achieve these objectives more than we have done before.