Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast 311 (R.
(photo credit: Caren Firouz / Reuters)
- Iran condemned what it called foreign interference in the affairs of
its closest Arab ally, Syria, on Tuesday and praised reforms Syrian
President Bashar Assad has pledged to undertake as "problem-solving."
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are fundamentally against interfering in the affairs of other
countries. We think it does not solve the problems but will only make
them more complicated," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin
Mehmanparast told a weekly news conference.
Tehran has tempered its rhetoric on Syria as the crisis there has dragged on for 10 months. At first, it wholeheartedly supported Assad's stance against public opposition, now it is encouraging reforms to take account of popular grievances.
"The good reforms which have been announced by Syrian officials are pushing the ambiance towards dialogue and solving the problems, though some countries do not like this," Mehmanparast said.
Assad has announced the end to a draconian state of emergency, granted
citizenship to many Syrian Kurds and promised parliamentary elections
later this year. On Sunday he issued the latest of several amnesties for
those detained since the uprising began.
Syria's opposition has dismissed Assad's gestures as hollow, given a
continued spate of killings and a lack of dialogue even after Arab
League peace monitors arrived three weeks ago.
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed during
Assad's 10-month-old military crackdown on popular unrest, with violence
continuing despite the presence of Arab League monitors.
Qatar, the most Arab country most outspoken against Assad, has proposed sending in Arab troops to halt the bloodshed.
Non-Arab, Shi'ite Muslim Iran is closely allied with Assad's Syria and
both support militant terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iran has backed "Arab Spring" uprisings that toppled several
Western-allied dictators in predominantly Sunni Muslim North Africa,
while maintaining support for Assad, a member of the minority Alawite
sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
To help deter foreign intervention in Syria, Iran has used various
regional cards, including fears that it could unleash militant proxies
like Hezbollah and Hamas against Israeli and US interests in the Middle
Saudi Arabia has indicated it could increase oil output to make up for
Iranian crude in the event of a European Union embargo against Iranian
oil, a stance criticized by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
"These signs and signals are not friendly and will be remembered in the
history of relations between the two countries," Salehi told Iran's
state-run Arabic language television channel al Alam.
Mehmanparast said he doubted the EU would push ahead with its oil
embargo, a move Iranian OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said would be
"economic suicide" for a bloc that is in the grip of a huge currency