Iran urges condemnation of Israel for Syria hit

Tehran tells Press TV weapons targeted by missiles in Damascus were not en route to Hezbollah; ready to train Syrian army for battle.

By REUTERS
May 5, 2013 15:06
1 minute read.
Army graduation ceremony in Tehran, November 10, 2011

Army graduation ceremony in Tehran 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Khamenei.ir/Handout)

DUBAI - Iran called on the region to unite against Israel after a reported attack on Syria and said it was ready to train the Damascus government's army.

Israel carried out its second air strike in days on Syria early on Sunday, targeting Iranian-supplied missiles headed for Lebanon's Hezbollah, a Western intelligence source said.

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Tehran on Sunday denied the attack was aimed at "its missiles destined for Hezbollah resistance fighters in Lebanon," according to the Islamic state's English-language Press TV.

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Iran has supported its ally Syrian President Bashar Assad in his efforts to suppress a rebellion that has raged for more than two years and which Tehran and Damascus say is being waged by Western-backed "terrorists".

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast urged countries in the region to stand against the "assault", the Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

Iranian army ground forces commander Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said on Sunday Iran was ready to support its ally.

"Syria has a powerful army and with the structure and experience it has against the Zionist regime (Israel) it can definitely defend itself and there is no need for intervention by other countries," Pourdastan said, according to Fars.

"But if they need training we can help them," he added.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi blasted Israel Sunday for the reported strikes on Syria stating that the attack would have repurcussions on Israel and "will shorten [the] fake regime's [Israel's] life," Lebanese TV network Al-Manar reported the minister as saying on the website of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has denied supporting Assad militarily, although Western diplomats have said Iranian weapons pour into Syria via Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon.

Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in January Tehran would consider an attack on Syria an attack on itself.


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