Iranian news site criticizes complicity in Syria

Following reports of Syrian cluster bomb use, conservative 'Baztab-e Emrooz' asks 'how will history judge our silence?'

Syria mother crying (R370) (photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)
Syria mother crying (R370)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)
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 Rezaee.
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 Western-sponsored terrorists.
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 country.”
“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.
The article 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 Assad’s forces.
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 terrorists.”
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”.
“If we continue this silence, how will we ourselves be judged?” it asked.
In 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 assisting Assad.
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.