Iran warns against foreign intervention in Syria
DUBAI - Reuters
Iran warned against foreign intervention in Syria on Sunday and said the conflict there could engulf Israel, Iranian media said.
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused the United States and regional countries he did not name of providing military support to rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran.
Syria has accused Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia of backing rebels in Syria and fuelling violence there. Iran has supported Assad's efforts to crush the 17-month revolt and has accused Western countries and Israel of interfering in the crisis.
"The fire that has been ignited in Syria will take the fearful (Israelis) with it," Larijani said on Sunday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
"What really allows these countries to interfere in internal Syrian affairs?" Larijani was quoted as saying.
Larijani is considered a moderate conservative and a close follower of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the most powerful man in Iran who decides foreign policy. Larijani is also a critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and widely expected to run for president in 2013.
Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, a key ally of Khamenei and father-in-law to the paramount leader's son, Mojtaba, said on Sunday the people of Syria should not allow the United States and Israel to break the "resistance front", IRNA reported.
"Since the Americans and (Israelis) do not want to solve the Syrian issue, they continue to make the...region insecure," Haddad Adel was quoted as saying.
On Friday, following his visit to Moscow to discuss Syria, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said "terrorist groups" supported by foreign forces were operating in Damascus and Aleppo, IRNA reported.
Amir-Abdollahian said "tens of thousands of weapons" had entered Syria from neighbouring countries and were being used by groups including al Qaeda.
"Unfortunately America and regional countries ... do not take steps to control the borders," Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying.
Amir-Abdollahian said he did not believe Syria would be attacked by foreign powers, but that if it were, it would not need Iran's help in defending itself.
"Syria has been ready for years to respond to any military attack against it by (Israel) or other countries, and can respond strongly to any military action by itself and with complete readiness," he was quoted as saying.
Iran and Russia support the six-point plan presented by former UN peace envoy Kofi Annan to solve the crisis. A frustrated Annan resigned his post last week, blaming "finger-pointing and name-calling" at the U.N. Security Council for his decision to quit.
Iran has blamed the United States and countries in the region for the failure of Annan's plan.