Countries must not 'impose' demands on Syria: Iran
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 08 June 2012.
Syrians must be able to decide their own fate free of impositions by other countries, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, according to a statement posted on his official website on Thursday.
Ahmadinejad also accused the United States and its allies of opposing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with the goal of dominating the Middle East and propping up Israel.
The comments were published ahead of a "Friends of Syria" meeting in Paris on Friday aimed at coordinating Western and Arab efforts on Syria, which is in the throes of nearly 16 months of bloody internal conflict.
"The main enemies... are trying to revive their domination of the region and to save the occupying regime from destruction," he told visiting Syrian parliamentary speaker Jihad al-Lahham on Wednesday, according to his presidential website.
"The Americans are seeking only their interests, and it is the right of the people of the region, including the great Syrian people, to freely decide their own fate and others should not impose their demands on them," Ahmadinejad said.
Lahham was quoted as saying after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi that "despite all plots and political and social pressures, the Syrians will pass this decisive phase by relying on domestic capabilities." Salehi on Wednesday reaffirmed Tehran's strong stance against "any kind of foreign intervention" in Syria, according to state media.