Iran condemns US envoy's 'suspicious' visit to Syria

Iranian deputy FM says US ambassador Ford's uncoordinated visit to Hama proves that US is meddling in Syrian affairs, FARS reports.

July 10, 2011 12:57
2 minute read.
Violence in Syria

Hama 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The visit of United States Ambassador John Ford to the protest-ridden city of Hama is "suspicious" and proves US meddling in internal Syrian affairs, Iranian FARS News Agency cited Tehran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani as saying on Sunday.

Sheibani slammed Washington's "direct interference" in the Syrian unrest, and said that the US employs "deceptive and hypocritical moves" in an attempt to repair Washington's reputation in a region that has long been heavily influenced by US foreign policy.

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The Iranian deputy foreign minister's comments come days after US ambassador Robert Ford visited Syria together with French Ambassador Eric Chevallier. Sheibani criticized the US ambassador's trip, saying that such a visit seeks to normalize US intervention in other countries' internal affairs.

Syria also condemned the US ambassador's visit, which it said was not coordinated with Damascus, saying it proved US meddling in Syrian affairs, a charge which the US denied on Friday.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has long maintained that foreign powers interested in his ouster are flaming protests, while US President Barack Obama has said that Damscus has been seeking Iranian support to quell anti-government demonstrations.

Earlier Sunday, pan-Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat cited a Syrian human rights activist as saying that at least 11,000 Syrian demonstrators have been imprisoned and some 60,000 detained for a short period of time since the start of the uprising against Assad that began nearly four months ago.

According to the activist, Yassin Haj Saleh, most of those detained were held for about a week and then let go.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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