News / Middle East

Iran Denies Role in Syria Crackdown

Protesters burn an Iranian flag during a protest organized by Lebanese and Syrians living in Lebanon, to express solidarity with Syria's anti-government protesters, as they march in Tripoli, northern Lebanon. The protesters are opposed to Iran, which has
Protesters burn an Iranian flag during a protest organized by Lebanese and Syrians living in Lebanon, to express solidarity with Syria's anti-government protesters, as they march in Tripoli, northern Lebanon. The protesters are opposed to Iran, which has

Iran's government has denied allegations it is playing a role in Syria's bloody crackdown on political opposition.  But reports in the international press continue to contend that Iran is helping Syria militarily.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said again Monday that Tehran is “not intervening” to help Syria's government repress its people.  He described as "baseless," allegations from the European Union that the Quds Brigade of Iran's Revolutionary Guards is involved in the Syrian crackdown.

During a news conference last week, Mehmanparast urged other countries “not to intervene in Syria's internal political crisis.”  

Reports in the Arab and international press have accused both Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, of helping Syrian authorities deal with the popular uprising.

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani Sadr, now an exiled opponent of Iran's government, is among those who say Iran and Hezbollah are helping Syria in the crackdown.

He says the Iranian regime is helping Syria in every possible way.  He says he has information that 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and 2,200 Hezbollah fighters are working with the Syrian government.  But he contends that Saudi Arabia is also intervening in Syria - on the opposition side.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, says Iran is in fact starting to distance itself from the Syrian regime, anticipating that it may fall.  He notes that Iran's Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, urged Syria last week to address its people's “legitimate demands.”

“The fact that the Iranians are beginning to talk to the Syrians and telling the regime to accommodate the 'legitimate demands of the Syrian people' means that they are concluding that the regime in Damascus is unsalvageable. In the long run, the regime will collapse,” he said.

Khashan also says Iran has been trying to mend fences with the Gulf Arab states, perhaps as a prelude to a policy shift on Syria.  He notes that Iran's foreign minister met with the leader of Qatar last week to discuss developments in Syria.

“The Iranians are trying to find alternatives and that's why the Iranians are trying also to mend fences with the countries of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. A few days ago, the Emir of Qatar visited Tehran and the visit had to do with the beginning of the careful shift of the Iranian position vis-a-vis Syria,” Khashan stated.

Khashan says both Iran and neighboring Turkey are major regional power brokers, and that each country is working to change its policy toward Syria, slowly.  He says it's impossible for them to change their policy 180 degrees overnight, but that "they are preparing for it.”

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid