Iran, an Active Player in Solving the Syrian Crisis
As you know, Russia and the US have agreed to coordinate their measures to solve the Syrian crisis based on the Geneva agreement. What is Iran’s opinion with regard to the Geneva agreement?
We have always stated that the crisis in Syria has no military solution and we have always welcomed a political solution. With regard to the Geneva agreement, we stated our position last year. We consider those who thought they could turn the fate of the crisis in Syria to their benefit by sending arms and money to the opposition as being responsible for the bloodshed in that country. We have said from the beginning that this is a crime. Now that Mr. Kerry has traveled to Russia and mentioned this issue despite being insulted when he had to wait in the Kremlin for a long time, this is a serious defeat for the policy of the war-mongers in Syria. Iran is ready to help establish a cease-fire in Syria and for the Syria-Syria talks to begin, so that a national solution without foreign intervention could be agreed upon and the demands of the Syrian people could be materialized through the ballot boxes. But it must be noted that this solution is faced with serious problems. All parties must help to remove these problems.
What are the problems facing a political solution for the Syrian crisis?
For example, who is the representative of the opposition? Can the terrorist and violent opposition which, during this time, have grown with the money and arms of the western countries and some Arab countries, now be controlled so that the cease-fire could be established? Will the countries which have hitherto helped the opposition with money and arms and which are the safe havens of the terrorists and whose intelligence organizations helped them to cross the borders and carry out operations, now stop taking such measures? These are the main problems of a potential political solution. Sending money and arms and giving military and operational assistance and helping to cross the borders from neighboring countries must be stopped. Otherwise, this will also be a big lie to politically repair the image of some countries, like the US, which is now very damaged. In that case, they will apparently state that they agree with negotiations, but their main policies will be war-seeking policies.
Based on the Geneva agreement, a transitional government must take power in Syria. Will the US agree with the presence of Bashar Assad in the transitional government?
The Geneva agreement states that the transitional government will be established based on talks between the opposition and the present government. In his press conference, Mr. Kerry backed down, this time, from his previous position which insisted on the absence of Bashar Assad. It is against international law for a country to decide for the people of another country and to say who should be in power and who should not. The US position which states that Bashar Assad must not be present in the transitional government has been against international laws and still is.
Do you believe that the coming to power of a transitional government led by Bashar Assad based on the Geneva agreement would be possible?
The transitional government must be formed on the basis of an agreement between the government and the opposition. We must wait and see what the results of such talks will be.
What will Iran’s position be if Bashar Assad accepts to not be present in the transitional government?
Iran’s position has no relation to any single person. Our position is that no one should intervene in Syria’s internal affairs and no one has the right to decide for the Syrian people.
Recently, Jordan has moved closer to Syria’s opposition. Considering Mr. Salehi’s visit to Jordan, does Iran have any leverage to pressure Jordan to reduce its support of the opposition?
Yes. In my opinion, all those who have been supporting the opposition now regret doing so. Those who beat the drum of war have now reached the conclusion that war is not the answer. Jordan is a weak country. It is under the pressure of the Americans. Jordan has been forced to accept the presence of the Americans on its soil and the training of the Syrian opposition in its country. But with these measures, Jordan did not observe the rights of its neighbors. These measures are against international laws. But the Jordan Kingdom is weak against Europe and the US.
Mr. Salehi has unexpectedly visited Syria immediately after leaving Jordan. Is there any special agenda in this visit?
The apparent unexpectedness of the visit is due to security issues, otherwise this visit was coordinated ahead of time. This visit shows that Iran is certainly an active player in solving the Syrian crisis. Iran has a six-point plan which it still reiterates. This plan has been proposed to many members of the Syrian opposition and they have accepted this plan. The Syrian government has also accepted this plan.