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Iran slams Arab League support of Syria rebels
March 31, 2013 18:34
Iranian envoy slams decision to give Syria's seat at summit to opposition, says "wrong measure" will backfire on Arab states.
Arab League chief Nabil Nabil Elaraby, Qatari PM

Arab League chief Nabil Nabil Elaraby, Qatars al-Thani 390 R. (photo credit:REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Iran's envoy to Syria on Sunday blasted the Arab League's decision to grant Syria's seat at the Arab Summit to the opposition, saying that it would only complicate the crisis, Iran's semi-official news agency Fars reported.

With Syrian membership to the Arab League suspended in November 2011, the seat at Tuesday's summit was filled by Moaz Alkhatib, the leading figure among Syria's opposition coalition that is battling to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad

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"Arab states make historical mistakes in dealing with the Syrian crisis so that the Arab nations and the Syrian people will always remember them," Fars quoted Iran's Charge d'Affaires in Damascus Abbas Golrou as saying.

Golrou reportedly warned that the "wrong measures" taken by Arab countries would backfire on them and harm their interests.

Golrou's criticism echoed comments made earlier in the week by Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, who accused the Arab League of cooperating with western governments "to serve their goals" in the Middle East.  Fars quoted Abdullahian as saying that, "It would be better if the Arab Leaders drew attention to defending oppressed people of Palestine vis-a-vis the occupying regime of Tel Aviv."

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At the summit, Moaz Alkhatib asked US Secretary of State John Kerry for American forces to help defend rebel-controlled northern parts of Syria with Patriot surface-to-air missiles based in Turkey. NATO swiftly rebuffed the idea.

The summit also endorsed the provision of military aid to Syrian rebels. A communiqué affirmed member states had a right to offer assistance "including military, to support the steadfastness of the Syrian people and the Free Army."

Iran has proposed a six-point plan for Syria and emphasized the importance of elections and reforms, but does not accept the removal of Assad, saying a solution to the crisis cannot be imposed from outside the country.

Reuters contributed to this report
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