Envoy: Only Free Elections Will Decide Syria’s Fate
Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Ghazanfar Roknabadi underlined the need for cessation of hostilities and terrorist attacks in Syria, and stressed that the country’s fate should be decided in free elections.
“Stopping violence, holding negotiations and determining the country’s political fate through free elections is the only logical path to the Syrian problem,” Roknabadi said in a meeting with Brazilian Special Envoy to the Middle East Cesario Melantonio Neto at the Iranian embassy in Beirut on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.
Melantonio Neto, for his part, condemned the rebels’ armed attacks and atrocities in Syria, and stressed his country’s opposition to foreign interference in the country.
“Any attempt to meddle with Syria’s fate through shipment of arms and use of force is unjustifiable, is in blatant violation of the international laws and jeopardizes security and stability in the entire region.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.
The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.
Tehran Offers To Mediate in Karabakh Dispute
Iranian Ambassador to Baku Mohsen Pakayeen voiced Tehran’s readiness to help resolve the territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, cautioning that the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk group which spearheads efforts in this regard is not completely impartial.
“Iran as the rotating president of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and active member of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) is ready to mediate and help end the skirmishes, revive the conditions prevailing before the conflict, including observation of borderlines,” Pakayeen said in an interview with Azeri Trend news agency.
Noting that the Karabakh issue is a 20-year-old dispute and Azerbaijan and Armenia have chosen the OSCE Minsk group to settle the issue, he said, “I believe that the Minsk group is not impartial in this dispute and the settlement of the Karabakh dispute has, thus, failed to be successful.”
In November 2010, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also voiced Tehran’s readiness to help resolve the territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“We believe that the Karabakh issue will be resolved through dialog and the commitment of both sides to justice, and Tehran is ready to negotiate with them within this framework,” Ahmadinejad said in a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart at the time.
Despite strong international pressure, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have failed to agree on the basic principles of ending the Karabakh conflict put forward by Russia, the United States, and France in 2011.
Armenia and Azerbaijan remain officially at war over Karabakh and the dispute is a major source of tension in the South Caucasus region wedged between Iran, Russia and Turkey.
No country--not even Armenia--officially recognizes Karabakh as an independent state.
The rebel region has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since it broke free of Baku’s control after a fierce war in the early 1990s in which 30,000 people were killed.
Right to Reciprocal Action Against Canada Reserved
Pursuant to Canadian government’s decision to freeze Iran’s assets on its territory, an Iranian lawmaker affirmed Tehran’s right to take reciprocal action against Ottawa.
“The issue of freezing Iran’s assets in Canada is to be pursued through international bodies and a lawsuit will also be filed [against Canada],” a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad-Saleh Jokar said on Monday.
Meanwhile, he added, Iran will examine different ways through which it can counteract Canada’s illegal move, Mehr News Agency reported.
Iran should make decisions to certainly stop continuation of the behavior of this British-affiliated government which are against international law, the legislator pointed out.
On November 5, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast lashed out at the Ottawa government for freezing the Iranian government’s assets in Canada, saying the move is the flagrant violation of international law.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran holds the Canadian government accountable for this violation of international law,” Mehmanparast said. On September 7, Ottawa closed its embassy in Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats in Canada to leave the country within five days.
The Canadian government has also frozen the bank accounts of many Iranian nationals living in Canada and banned money transfers to Iran.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed Canada’s unilateral decision to sever ties with Tehran, calling it a ‘non-professional, unconventional and unjustifiable’ move.
Americans Oppose Israel Strike on Iran
Most Americans believe that Washington should discourage Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, a recent survey revealed.
The poll of 737 respondents, conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) between Sept. 27-Oct. 2, 2012, showed that 63 percent of respondents believe that the US should discourage Israel from attacking Iran while 33 percent said the US should encourage Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear program, Press TV reported.
Four percent said they had no answer to the question.
The participants were also asked about the outcome of an Israeli strike on Iran by giving their opinion on: 1) Iran’s possible attack on the US bases in the region and subsequent engagement of the US, and 2) possibility of sudden upsurge in international oil prices.
Seventy percent of the respondents said Iran would attack US bases in the region and drag the US into a new war, 23 percent maintained that Iran was not likely to engage with US, and 7 percent did not answer the question.
As for the impact of Iran attack on global oil prices, 86 percent said prices would rise sharply, 9 percent said the price hike would not be remarkable, and 5 percent had no answer to the question.
The poll results are indicative of the American people’s serious concern about the consequences of Israel’s attack on Iran, especially the possibility of Iran’s reprisal against US regional bases and engagement of Washington in a new war. Due to current profound domestic and economic problems that Americans are experiencing, they are strongly opposed to the involvement of their country in another regional conflict.
Tel Aviv has repeatedly threatened Iran with a military strike, saying that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran argues that as a signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iranian officials have also vowed a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.
Last week, Deputy Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said that the Iranian Armed Forces would ‘firmly’ respond to any air, ground and sea aggression.
“If any foreign aircraft seeks to enter our country’s airspace, our Armed Forces will confront it,” Jazayeri said on Friday.
Earlier this month, the commander downplayed war rhetoric against Iran as part of the enemies’ psychological warfare against the Iranian nation.
Jazayeri described stepped-up Israeli and US war rhetoric as hollow, stressing that they are incapable of undertaking military action against Iran.
The general, however, highlighted Tehran’s determination to develop its defensive and offensive military capabilities as a deterrence against enemies’ plots.
Lawmaker Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani criticized Arab states and the Arab League for recognizing the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, warning that the opposition is stirring crisis in Syria.