Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi praised Iran’s constructive role regarding the developments in Syria and emphasized that the ongoing crisis in the Arab country should be settled by political means as war would fail to resolve it.
In a meeting with the visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for
Arab-African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Beijing on Thursday, Yang said that China and Iran are in close contact with UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, IRIB reported.
He underlined that the future of the crisis-stricken country should be determined by the Syrian people without any interference from outside the country.
Syria has been the scene of unrest since March 2011 and tens of thousands of people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
Amir-Abdollahian, for his part, lashed out at the US and the West for preparing the ground for spreading terrorism and extremism in Syria, expressing Iran’s strong support for the Syrian nation and President Bashar Al-Assad’s roadmap to resolve problems in the country.
The Syrian people have been afflicted by US support for terrorist and extremist groups, he said.
In a key speech on January 6, Assad called for an end to the terrorist operations inside Syria and urged ‘concerned states and parties’ to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.
Assad added that his government is always ready to hold talks with the opposition and political parties and that he would call for a ‘comprehensive national dialog’ after foreign parties end their support for the militants and the terrorist activities cease in the country.
The Iranian official added that enemies are pursuing ‘indirect interference’ in Syria and have dispatched irresponsible armed groups to the country.
“Certain extremist and terrorist groups have found Syria a secure place for their terrorist acts with the support of Washington,” he said and warned against the spillover of insecurity from Syria to other regional countries.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals. Damascus blames western countries and some of their regional allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of arming the opposition and fueling the crisis in the country, as reports indicate that a large number of insurgents fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored insurgents of war crimes.
Iran has repeatedly rejected foreign intervention in Syria’s internal affairs, calling for national dialog as the only way out of the country’s prolonged impasse.
Terror Attacks Denounced
Earlier in the day, Amir-Abdollahian condemned terrorist activities in Syria, describing the terrorist elements as those operating concurrently against the people of Syria, Syrian opposition, and government.
“From our standpoint, those who attack wheat silos and power plants which supply electricity to people’s houses are not opposition, but are terrorists opposed to the people of Syria,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
“Terrorists are simultaneously targeting people, opposition groups who favor political solution, and the [Syrian] government,” he said.
“Some armed and extremist operatives have infiltrated Syria from Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and even neighboring countries and are carrying out terrorist operations. The question is if they belong to opposition groups in Syria,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian reaffirmed Iran’s opposition to any intervention in Syria, saying, “Some foreign governments insisted on intervention in Syria, but the veto of three [related] international courses of action by China and Russia stripped the enemies of the people of this important Middle East country of any pretext [to do so].”
The Chinese foreign minister further reaffirmed Iran’s absolute right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, stressing the importance of immediate resumption of talks between Tehran and the six major world powers (P5+1).
Yang added talks between Tehran and the P5+1 would be beneficial to Iran, the entire region and different sides.
Iran and the P5+1--the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany--have held several rounds of talks with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The last round of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Moscow in June, 2012.
China and Russia, as two veto-wielding powers at the UN Security Council, have persistently expressed their support for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Next APPCED Conference in Tehran
The 17th Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development (APPCED) will convene in Tehran next spring.
On the last day of the 16th session which took place in Nepal from January 14 to 17 with participation of around 100 delegates, including speakers, members of parliament, ministers and political leaders from 46 countries in the region, Iran was chosen as the host of next conference.
Two Iranian offers, including Local Green Bridge/Inter-Regional Bridge and Regional Emergency Response Plans were approved by the participants and involved in the final resolution of the 16th conference.
In an interview with IRNA, Mohammad Reza Tabesh, a member of Majlis who represented Iran in the four-day event called the selection of Iran as the host of 17th APPCED conference, a success.
Tabesh, on behalf of the Iranian Majlis, proposed nomination of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the host of the 17th APPCED General Assembly.
The Nepal General Assembly, during its deliberations, enhanced the existing relations between environment protection and development in Asia–Pacific region as the most important priority.
The concept of sustainable development was introduced by theoreticians of development at the global level in 1980s after the emerging of insufficiencies of the classic development model, such as increasing poverty, unemployment, environmental problems, non-participation of people in making developmental decisions, and lack of due attention to these problems, were revealed.
West’s Double Standards On Terrorism Denounced
Iran’s Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani has censured the West’s double standards on fighting terrorism, urging a fair approach to the malicious phenomenon.
In an interview with France 24 on Thursday night, Ahani reiterated that Iran holds a clear stance on terrorism, saying the Islamic Republic is a victim of terrorism and condemns it.
Ahani said that a selective approach to terrorism must be avoided. It is not proper to support and encourage terrorists who kill people in Syria while opposing rebels in Mali, he added.
Ahani said that Iran supports the Syrian people and added that the Damascus government is legitimate. He said that the Syrian government is legitimate as long as it is supported by the majority of the Syrians, adding the Damascus government has kept its power due to public support despite numerous plots against it.
The envoy also said that political and armed measures aimed at causing sabotage in Syria are the result of sending militants into the Arab country.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Regarding the conflict in the African country of Mali, Ahani said that any military intervention has consequences, adding that the question remained as to whether France’s military action benefitted the national interests and the people of Mali.
On January 11, France intervened in Mali by launching an air offensive under the pretext of halting the advance of the militants.
Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.
However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.
France has also increased the number of its troops on the ground in the African country to 1,400.
Myanmarese Muslims Receive Iran’s Humanitarian Aid
Iran’s consignment of humanitarian aid for ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been delivered to the refugees in the country.
The shipment includes foodstuff, tents, blankets and other basic commodities, and was distributed among the Rohingya Muslims following the arrival of Iran’s parliamentary delegation in the city of Sittwe in the western state of Rakhine, Press TV reported on Thursday.
The Iranian parliamentary delegation, led by deputy head of Iran Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Mansour Haqiqatpour, arrived in Myanmar on Tuesday.
In meetings with local officials, Haqiqatpour extended messages of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iranian government, Majlis and nation to Myanmarese Muslim refugees.
Representatives of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee and the Iranian Red Crescent Society also accompanied the Iranian parliamentary delegation on this visit.
Some 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are deprived of citizenship rights and suffer from a policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of naturalization and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion and displacement.
They have faced torture, neglect and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948. Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists.
Buddhist extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and set fire to their homes in several villages in the troubled region. Myanmar’s government has been blamed for failing to protect the Muslim minority. Myanmar’s army forces have reportedly provided the extremists with containers of petrol to torch the houses of Muslim villagers.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.
Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has consistently refused to condemn the Myanmarese military for its persecution of the Rohingyas. On December 25, the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to ‘protect all their (the Muslims) human rights, including their right to a nationality’.
The unanimously adopted UN resolution expresses ‘particular concern about the situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state, urges the (Myanmar) government to take action to bring about an improvement in their situation and to protect all their human rights, including their right to a nationality’.
The UN resolution also stated that there are ‘systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms’ in Myanmar.
The resolution was identical to one approved earlier by the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on human rights.
IRIB Chief Critical Of Channel Bans
Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarghami censured the bans by certain western satellite operators on Iranian channels, saying the move is a clear example of the West’s false claim of supporting freedom of speech.
“The US hatched different plots since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in order to prevent the message of the Revolution from being exported and counter the anti-arrogance thoughts of the Iranian nation,” Zarghami said on Thursday, Press TV reported.
In another blow to the freedom of speech, Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat took Iran’s Press TV and Hispan TV off air on December 21 and ordered Overon, a subsidiary satellite company, to stop the transmission of the two international TV channels.
Overon said the ban on Press TV and Hispan TV followed a similar move by France’s Eutelsat company, which had earlier taken several Iranian satellite channels and radio stations off air. It said the channels were removed because of ‘a wider interpretation of EU regulations’.
In November, the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) also took Iranian channels off air in East Asia.
In October, Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels, citing pressure by the European Union. The EU has, however, denied the claims by the European satellite companies.
The IRIB head further pointed to bids by the government of US President Barack Obama to counter the Islamic Republic’s ties with Latin America, saying, “While this region was regarded as the United States’ backyard until about a decade ago, people in Latin American countries are currently familiar with the enlightening message of the Islamic Revolution.” On December 28, 2012, the US president enacted the law to counter Iran’s growing relations with the Latin American countries.
The so-called Countering Iran in Western Hemisphere Act 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.
Major Latin American nations have enhanced their diplomatic and trade ties with Iran in recent years. The promotion of all-out cooperation with Latin American countries has been among the top priorities of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy over the past few years. Washington considers Latin America as its strategic backyard, a term used to refer to the USA’s traditional areas of dominance.
Zarghami also warned against enemies’ plans to cause discord among Shiite and Sunni Muslims and said Muslim countries can destroy the main enemy--the fake Israeli regime--through unity and integrity.
Head of Senegal’s Red Cross Abdel-Aziz Diyalu called on Iran’s Red Crescent Society to share its experiences and information with Dakar.