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Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
The Syrian government has repeatedly said that the chaos in the country is being orchestrated from abroad, and a very large number of the militants operating in Syria are foreign nationals.
Call for Further Regional Cooperation
During a meeting with new Afghan Ambassador, Ahmadinejad stressed the need for cooperation among regional states, saying challenges facing the region require domestic solutions.
“Regional solutions are required to solve the issues and problems in the region. Regional states should strive to resolve existing issues through full understanding so that enemies won’t have the chance to take action against anyone,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Basir Ahmad Nour on Saturday.
Western expansionist governments favor weak and divided regional countries in a bid to better achieve their goals, he added.
Ahmadinejad also said that the Iranian nation stands by the Afghan people and that there is no obstacle to the expansion of ties between Tehran and Kabul.
He said Afghan security, dignity and progress are of significance to Tehran, adding that Iran supports the establishment of peace, brotherhood and welfare in its neighboring country.
“Although the presence of foreign forces has created certain conditions in Afghanistan, the Afghan nation will endure the current hardship - thanks to their historical background. We believe that Afghan government and people, through perseverance and determination, can take great steps towards development and progress,” he added.
The Afghan ambassador, for his part, referred to numerous commonalities between Iran and Afghanistan, and praised Iran’s support for Afghanistan.
He stressed that Kabul attaches paramount significance to the development of its ties with Tehran.
No Obstacle Can Stop Progress
Receiving Japan’s new ambassador to Tehran Koji Haneda, the Iranian president said no obstacle can stop Iranians from progress and Iranians, undoubtedly, will pass current situation.
Ahmadinejad called Iran and Japan relations “historical and friendly”, adding that there is no reason for any distance between the two countries and the mutual cooperation has always been in direction of world peace and security, IRNA reported.
Ahmadinejad said the two countries can take major steps toward building a better world full of friendship and justice.
The new Japanese ambassador, after submitting his credentials to the president, expressed hope that with the help of President Ahmadinejad the two countries can take huge steps toward promoting ties.
He stressed that Iran and Japan have close cooperation upon mutual interests and that Japan will do its best to develop friendly ties and consolidate cooperation in different fields especially in economic relations with Iran.
Haneda also appreciated for Iran’s assistance in the recent Japan earthquake.
He underlined that Japan believes in diplomacy and negotiation to solve political problems all over the world. He added that Iranians can overcome all obstacles and decisive steps will be taken in the direction of progress in bilateral relations.
Also in a separate meeting, the new Tunisian Ambassador to Tehran, Khalid Al-Zeytooni, submitted his credentials to the president Ahmadinejad.
Lebanese Christian Leader:
Syrians Still Support Assad
Leader of Lebanon’s powerful Maronite Christians Suleiman Frangieh blasted certain foreign states for their attempts to prevent the candidacy of President Bashar Al-Assad in the 2014 election, and said the Syrian people are still siding with Assad and support him.
“The Syrian people are beside Bashar Assad like the past and support him; therefore certain foreign sides are trying hinder Assad’s candidacy in the 2014 presidential election,” Frangieh said in a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi in Beirut on Sunday, Fars News Agency reported.
Roknabadi, for his part, stressed the necessity for the maintenance of stability in Lebanon and adopting the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the Syrian crisis to Lebanon, and said the Syrian issue should be settled through political means.
He also elaborated on Iran’s six-point plan proposed to settle the crisis in Syria.
On December 16, the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced the contents of Tehran’s six-point plan for solving the problems in Syria, saying stop of violence and preventing foreign military intervention stand atop the proposal.
According to the ministry, the first step is stopping violence and preventing military intervention of other countries in the Syrian issue.
The second step is preventing the shipment of weapons and holding national talks. Setting up a committee of the representatives of the Syrian people and government to reach an agreement on necessary reforms, taking steps to hold elections, reforming the Constitution as well as holding parliamentary and presidential elections are among the other moves demanded by the Iranian proposal.
Iranian officials have recently called on political leaders and religious figures in the region to support Tehran’s 6-point plan to settle the crisis in Syria.
IRGC: Delisting MKO A Typical Global Arrogant Move
The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad-Ali Jafari on Saturday said Canada’s move to delist the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) was typical as global arrogance seeks its own interests.
On December 20, Canada added the Quds Force of the IRGC to its list of terrorist groups, alleging that it had been arming the Taliban, Hamas and others.
The Iranian commander also said that imperialist powers support terrorists, including the MKO, and at the same time place Iran’s forces and organizations on terror lists.
Canada’s move came a day after Ottawa removed the terrorist MKO group from its blacklist of terrorist organizations.
The MKO is responsible for numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and officials.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Jafari said Iran holds military exercises with the aim of increasing its defensive power against enemies.
The commander said that the objective of the drills is to enhance the defensive and security preparedness of Iran’s armed forces against enemies, “not our neighbors and friends”.
Iran’s Navy launched six-day naval maneuvers on December 28 in order to display the country’s capabilities to defend its maritime borders and maintain durable peace in the region.
US Against Independent LatAm
An Iranian lawmaker said that the United States does not favor an independent Latin America, stressing that Iran will spare no effort for the independence of the revolutionary people in that region.
Ahmad Reza Dastgheyb, a member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said on Saturday that the United States “used to adopt every measure to achieve its own interests” in Latin America, Press TV reported.
The Iranian lawmaker condemned Washington’s stance on Latin America and said today, people in that region will no longer let the United States continue with its ambitious policies.
Iran is a source of inspiration to Latin American people in view of the “freedom-seeking, revolutionary and anti-imperialistic thoughts” it provides Latin America with, Dastgheyb said. “This is unbearable to the United States.”
On Friday, US President Barack Obama enacted a law to counter Iran’s growing relations with the Latin American countries.
The so-called Countering Iran in Western Hemisphere Act, passed by lawmakers earlier this year, requires the US Department of State to develop a strategy within 180 days to “address Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity” in Latin America.
The Islamic Republic has been seeking to expand relations with Latin American countries over the past few years, describing the endeavor as one of its major foreign policy strategies.
Major Latin American nations have also enhanced their diplomatic and trade ties with Iran in recent years, while their relations with the United States have been downgraded amid popular demands for an end to dependence on Washington.
The lawmaker also said that Iran provides the Latin American countries with its latest scientific and technological achievements.
Iran’s rising popularity in Latin America has raised major concerns in Washington, which regards the region as its strategic backyard and traditional sphere of influence.
Azerbaijan Not Launchpad For Iran Attack
Azerbaijan will not allow its territory to be used for any actions aimed against Iran, Azeri foreign minister said on Sunday.
Briefing reporters in Baku, Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov dismissed as “totally unfounded” media reports that Azeri territory could be used as a jumping-off ground for possible military operations against Tehran, Interfax News Agency reported.
The minister said that such information had earlier been refuted by his and other Azeri ministries.
In October, Reuters reported that Israeli regime might resort to Azerbaijan’s strategic geographic position to strike Iran’s atomic sites, reviving rumors officially denied by Azerbaijan.
Leaked intelligence from two former Azeri military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Baku and Tel Aviv are considering the Azeri bases for military use against Tehran.
Israel continues to lobby for a potential military invasion of Iran’s atomic program; something that many analysts believe will have dire consequences for the region.
Iran says it will retaliate any attacks on its territorial integrity by maximum force.
Six-Point Plan Only Solution to Syria
An Iranian official says Tehran’s six-point peace plan would be the only solution to the unrest in Syria, stressing that no country should intervene in the internal affairs of the Arab country.
“The six-point plan presented by Iran is a very appropriate solution to the crisis in Syria because it has been prepared based on international principles,” said Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to Iran’s Majlis speaker for international affairs, in New Delhi on Sunday, Press TV reported.
He added that ‘bloodshed’ in Syria should be stopped and ‘negotiations’ must begin to end the turmoil.
On December 16, Iran unveiled the details of the six-point plan. The proposal calls for an immediate end to all armed violence.
The plan also calls for sending humanitarian aid to Syrians following the end of all conflicts, lifting all economic sanctions imposed against the country, and facilitating the return of displaced Syrians to their homes.
Iran’s proposal also urges talks between the Syrian government and the representatives of all Syrian groups regardless of their political and social tendencies in order to form a national reconciliation committee.
Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria in March 2011.
The former Iranian ambassador to Damascus also said that the United States and the Israeli regime favor insecurity in Syria.
“Unfortunately, the West supports the solution of bloodshed and crime in the name of support for human rights and the establishment of democracy.”
Sheikholeslam also said that the West seeks ways to continue the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
New Wargames Soon
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Ground Force plan to stage new wargames in the near future in a bid to boost its preparedness to defend the country, Leader’s representative at the force Hojatoleslam Mohammad Hadi Rezayee said.