Assad with Ahmadinejad
Photo: AP

Report: Iran denies contact with Syrian opposition

Islamic Republic's Damascus embassy denies reports alleging Tehran held talks with Assad regime's opponents

Iran, a close alley to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, denied recent reports that it has been in direct contact with the Syrian opposition, the semi-official Fars news agency said Saturday.


According to the report, the Islamic Republic's embassy in Damascus said in a statement that Tehran hasn't held talks with any opponents of the Syrian government. Assad's regime has been leading a brutal crackdown on protesters for the past eight months, prompting sanctions from the international community.


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Fars quoted the statement as saying that "Contact with the political opposition of the Syrian ruling system is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda.


"If any such move is taken, it will certainly be carried out through full coordination with Syrian officials," the embassy added.


The UK's Daily Telegraph reported earlier this week that Iranian officials have met moderate Syrian opposition leader Haytham Manna, as well as other members of a group known as the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change, or the National Coordinating Committee.


The group, the report said, is strongly opposed to foreign intervention in Syria, and is likely to be seen as more acceptable to the regime in Tehran than the largest opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which has called for "international protection" for civilians.


Manna did not reply to the Telegraph's requests for comment, but according to the newspaper the Iranians were most likely trying to "mould the wider views on Israel and relations with the West of the opposition rather than offering any real support."




פרסום ראשון: 11.19.11, 18:15
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