In the wake of reports that the Syrian air force has used cluster bombs in
recent days, an Iranian conservative news website on Tuesday sharply criticized
Iran’s complicity in Syria.
In an editorial headed “Cluster bombs on the
Syrian people – how will history judge our silence,” Baztab-e Emrooz (“Today’s
Reflection”) said the victims of the conflict in Syria are civilians, including
women and children.
Baztab-e Emrooz is a news and commentary website
affiliated with conservative critics of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Its editor, Foad Sadeghi, previously wrote for news sites Tabnak and Baztab,
both of which are linked to former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps chief
commander and current Expediency Discernment Council secretary Mohsen
Citing a Sunday report by US-based Human Rights Watch, which cited
new evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces had dropped RBK-250 and
AO-1SCh cluster munitions on rebels, the editorial noted that Syrian civilians
are in danger from unexploded bombs.
The tone of the report is in
contrast to the line taken by Iran’s official state media and to sites linked to
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which say that the Syrian rebels are
Baztab-e Emrooz’s editorial does echo
Iran’s official position by arguing that “al-Qaida and Salafist terrorists and
criminal forces” are among the Syrian opposition fighters, but says that the
Syrian army has no right to “fire at will on the people of its
“While Baztab condemns the terrorist acts against the Assad
government, the Syrian authorities and military have a responsibility to
preserve the lives of its people,” the editorial continued.
also slammed the “deafening silence” in Iran’s state media, accusing official
news channels of failing to speak out about the killing of Syrian civilians by
The site called on the Syrian government to stop using
weapons such as artillery, airborne missiles and cluster bombs and use “only
intelligence and targeted means to identify and deal with
Referring to the death toll in Syria – the UN said on Monday
that 30,000 have died in the conflict – Baztab-e Emrooz said that Iranians could
not remain silent “while children are being hit by missile strikes, shell
fragments and shrapnel.”
The editorial also called on Iranian diplomatic
officials to “use their connections to prevent this tragedy”.
continue this silence, how will we ourselves be judged?” it asked.
May, Iran admitted that members of the Qods Force, the IRGC’s extraterritorial
branch, were in Syria. In a report that was quickly removed from the Iranian
state media, Qods Force deputy commander Esmail Gha’ani said the IRGC were
Last month, IRGC commander Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Ali
Jafari repeated that the Qods Force were present in Syria but said Iran did not
have a military presence in that country and was aiding Assad in other ways.