Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdullahian told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen television network that his country and the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, agree that the solution to the crisis in Syria involves holding elections under international supervision.
"There is a small number of countries that are talking about a military solution, but most of the international community are discussion a political solution," Amir-Abdullahian said in the interview, which was aired overnight Tuesday.
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The senior diplomat also called for dialogue between Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey as part of the effort to end the crisis. "These are very important countries in the Middle East and they must take advantage of their abilities to stop the violence in Syria and promote peace, security and stability in the region.
"We and the UN envoy to Syria agreed that a military operation cannot bring about a solution in Syria. Only a diplomatic solution can end the bloodshed," Amir-Abdullahian said.
In the interview, the deputy foreign minister also addressed Iran's relations with Hamas. "Hamas are brothers to us and we always support then in their path of resistance and their protection of the Palestinian people's rights."
The interview with Amir-Abdullahian was aired just hours after Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah made a surprising statement considering his organization's deep involvement in the Syrian war. "There is no military solution in Syria. We must push for a diplomatic solution," he said during a speech that was broadcast live on huge screens in Beirut.
Meanwhile, international inspectors overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile have missed an early deadline in a brutally tight schedule after security concerns prevented them from visiting two sites linked to Damascus' chemical program.
The chief of the global chemical weapons watchdog disclosed for the first time in a report obtained by the Associated Press that Syria has declared 41 facilities at 23 chemical sites where it stored approximately 1,300 tons of precursors and agents, and over 1,200 unfilled munitions to deliver them.
Ahmet Uzumcu said in his first report to the UN Security Council that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had corroborated the information provided by Syria at 37 of the 41 facilities.
But the OPCW said inspectors were only able to visit 21 of the 23 sites because of security risks — which means the tight timeline for visiting all declared sites by Oct. 27 was missed.
While there are no consequences for missing the deadline, the group's failure to meet it underscores the ambitious timeline as well as the risks its inspectors face in carrying out their mission in the middle of Syria's civil war.
AP contributed to the report
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