Iran: Attack on Syria intolerable
Issuing Tehran's strongest warning to date, a top Iranian official said on Saturday that any attack on Syria would be deemed an attack on Iran, a sign that it will do all it can to protect embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his comments as Syrian troops conducted air raids against rebels and discovered a trio of tunnels they were using to smuggle weapons in their fight to topple Assad.
The world has been grappling over how to deal with Syria ever since an uprising against Assad's regime erupted nearly two years ago. But so far, there has been no international intervention on the ground where more than 60,000 people have been killed, according to the U.N.
Iran is Syria's strongest ally in the Middle East and has provided Assad's government with military and political backing for years. In September, the top commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the elite unit had high-level advisers in Syria. Iran is believed to be sending weapons and money to Syria as it endures its worst crisis in decades.
“Syria plays a very key role in supporting or, God forbid, destabilizing the resistance front,” Velayati was quoted by Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying. “For this same reason, (an) attack on Syria is considered (an) attack on Iran and Iran's allies.”
By backing the rebels trying to oust the Syrian leader, the United States and Arab states in the Persian Gulf attacked the “golden ring of resistance,” Valayati said, referring to the militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and Iran and Syria, which are all anti-American.
Iran also is at odds with the international community over its nuclear program, although Iran insists it is using the program solely for peaceful purposes, not nuclear weapons.
A former Iranian diplomat who defected to the West in 2010 told Israel's Channel 2 TV in an interview broadcast on Friday that if Tehran acquired nuclear weapons, it would use them against Israel.
Mohammad Reza Heydari, who has political asylum in Norway, claimed that Venezuela is flying uranium and various components for nuclear weapons to Tehran. Venezuela backs Iran in arguing the nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.
Since the unrest in Syria began in March 2011, opposition forces have taken control of wide swaths of territory, mostly in the north near Syria's border with Turkey.
NATO said on Saturday that the first of six Patriot missile batteries being deployed to Turkey to shoot down missiles that might come from the Syrian side of the border is now operational. The battery, meant to protect the Turkish city of Adana, was provided by the Netherlands.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Turks, fleeing Kurds battle as Islamic State besieges town in Iraq
- 100 tons of supplies to fight Ebola sent to West Africa
- Yemen signs peace deal with Shiite rebels
- Pakistan eyeing sea-based and short-range nuclear weapons, analysts say
- Libyan clashes could endanger oil exports
- Unity agreement eases Afghanistan’s political crisis
- Thousands march in Moscow against Ukraine fighting
- Egyptian President al-Sisi feels vindicated in crackdown as Islamic extremists rise
- Turkish hostages freed from Islamic State, but questions linger
- Islamic State link with well-heeled companies or individuals targeted
- It’s not a small world after all: Global population estimated to soar