Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday that the Islamic Republic will back Syrian President Bashar Assad's proposed peace initiative, meant to resolve the country's internal conflict.
Assad outlined the initiative in a rare public address Sunday. He called the revolt against him "fictitious" and condemns the rebels as terrorists. He also blamed the West for trying to divide the country and stressed that Syria alone will handle the crisis.
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"The Islamic Republic supports President Assad's proposed initiative for a comprehensive solution to the crisis," Salehi said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.
"The plan rejects violence, terrorism and foreign interference, and offers a comprehensive political process," he added.
Tehran has supported the Damascus regime since the conflict began, in March 2011, supplying it with weapons and funds and sending Revolutionary Guard officials to assist Assad's military forces.
The Iranian minister urged the Arab nations in the Middel East, as well as the international community, to "seize the opportunity" offered by Assad to "restore security and stability in Syria, and prevent the crisis from spreading in the region."
Assad imitative was widely panned by the opposition, which said he was "detached from reality."
George Sabra, vice president of the opposition National Coalition, said that Assad's plan did "not even deserve to be called an initiative… We should see it rather as a declaration that he will continue his war against the Syrian people," he said.
"The appropriate response is to continue to resist this unacceptable regime and for the Free Syrian Army to continue its work in liberating Syria until every inch of land is free."
The UN's Human rights Council believes that the near-two-year conflict has left over 60,000 dead.
Reuters contributed to this report
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