Iran warned on Sunday against foreign intervention in Syria and said the
conflict there could engulf Israel.
Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali
Larijani accused the US and regional countries he did not name of providing
military support to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar
“The fire that has been ignited in Syria will take the fearful
[Israelis] with it,” Larijani said on Sunday, according to the Islamic Republic
News Agency (IRNA).
One Israeli government official said that since the
beginning of the unrest in Syria last year, both Syria and the Iranians “have
been trying to bring Israel into it because they think it serves their
Both Iran and Hezbollah, the official said, “are on the
ground inside Syria supporting the Assad regime, and are part of the brutal
machine that is butchering the people of Syria.”
While Israel – beyond
offering humanitarian aid – has taken pains to stay out of the situation in
Syria, Israel’s leadership has said in the past two weeks that it would not
tolerate the transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile to
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel did not want to
act in Syria, but would do so if necessary to prevent chemical weapon
Syria has accused Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of backing
rebels in Syria and fueling violence there. Iran has supported Assad’s efforts
to crush the revolt and has accused Western countries and Israel of interfering
in the crisis.
“What really allows these countries to interfere in
internal Syrian affairs?” Larijani was quoted as saying.
He is considered
a moderate conservative and a close follower of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, the most powerful man in Iran who decides foreign
Larijani is also a critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and
widely expected to run for president in 2013.
Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, a
key ally of Khamenei and father-in-law to the paramount leader’s son Mojtaba,
said on Sunday the people of Syria should not allow the US and Israel to break
the “resistance front,” IRNA reported.
“Since the Americans and
[Israelis] do not want to solve the Syrian issue, they continue to make the...
region insecure,” Haddad Adel was quoted as saying.
On Friday, following
his visit to Moscow to discuss Syria, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein
Amir-Abdollahian said “terrorist groups” supported by foreign forces were
operating in Damascus and Aleppo, IRNA reported.
“tens of thousands of weapons” had entered Syria from neighboring countries and
were being used by groups including al-Qaida.
“Unfortunately, America and
regional countries... do not take steps to control the borders,”
Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying.
Amir-Abdollahian said he did not
believe Syria would be attacked by foreign powers, but that if it were, it would
not need Iran’s help to defend itself.
“Syria has been ready for years to
respond to any military attack against it by [Israel] or other countries, and
can respond strongly to any military action by itself and with complete
readiness,” he said.