Iran and Syria Condemn U.S. Aid to Rebels

March 4, 2013

            On March 2, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Syrian counterpart, Walid Mouallem, condemned the recent U.S. move to provide non-lethal aid to rebels for the first time. “Double standards were being applied by certain countries that serve to prolong and deepen the Syrian crisis,” Salehi claimed at a joint press conference in Tehran. “I do not understand how the United States can give support to groups that kill the Syrian people,” al Mouallem said.
            The comments by the two ministers were the first official reactions to Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement. He pledged $60 million in food and medical supplies to the Free Syrian Army on February 28. The following are excerpts from remarks by Salehi and Mouallem.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
 
            “Mercenaries and non-Syrian armed forces are deepening the Syrian crisis and unfortunately certain countries are supporting them… If other countries stop supporting mercenaries, the situation in Syria will swiftly progress towards stability...”
            “Double standards were being applied by certain countries that serve to prolong and deepen the Syrian crisis…”
            “If you really feel sorry about the ongoing situation in Syria you should force the opposition to sit at the negotiation table with the Syrian government and put an end to bloodshed… Why do you encourage the opposition to continue these acts of violence?...”
            “Assad is Syria's legal president until the next elections. Individuals have the freedom to run as candidates. Until that time, Assad is Syria's president…”
 
Syrian Foreign Minsiter Walid Mouallem
            “I do not understand how the United States can give support to groups that kill the Syrian people… This is nothing but a double-standard policy ... One who seeks a political solution does not punish the Syrian people…”
            “No one is allowed to infringe on Syrian national sovereignty… We refuse to be a piece of chess in the hands of the international community…”
            “If they truly wanted a political settlement they wouldn't punish the Syrian people and finance (opposition) groups with so-called non-lethal aid… Who are they kidding?...”