DUBAI - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on
Wednesday US intervention in Syria would be "a disaster for the region", the
ISNA state news agency reported, as Western powers made plans to hit Damascus
over a chemical weapons attack.
After supporting Arab uprisings across
the Middle East and north Africa in 2011 as examples of what Khamenei called an
Islamic awakening, Tehran has steadfastly supported the secular President Bashar Assad, its main strategic ally in the Middle East, against a
"The intervention of America will be
a disaster for the region. The region is like a gunpowder store and the future
cannot be predicted," the agency quoted Khamenei as saying.
concerned that if Assad were overthrown, he would be replaced by either allies
of the West or by radical Sunni Muslims tied to Saudi Arabia, both seen as
hostile by the Shi'ite Muslim Iranians. Syria is also a conduit for Iranian
supplies to Shi'ite Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
have condemned the use of chemical weapons - deployed against its troops during
the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war - but have blamed Syrian rebels for the Aug. 21 poison
gas attack that killed hundreds in the embattled suburbs of Damascus.
a victim of chemical weapons the Islamic Republic of Iran does not tolerate the
use of such weapons. In addition, it also does not tolerate a group of countries
giving themselves the permission to wage a campaign in the region," Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told state television.
"This fire of
sectarianism, tribal conflicts, and conflicts that ... are exacerbated for
short-term interests cannot be restricted to one region. "If (Obama) gets stuck
in this trap, he will certainly leave behind bad memories of his presidency."