News / Middle East

Iranian Envoy Says Tehran Supports Arab Spring

Mohammad Javad Larijani  (File Photo).
Mohammad Javad Larijani (File Photo).
Margaret Besheer

Despite representing a regime that suppressed its own pro-democracy movement, a senior Iranian official says Tehran “supports all the way” the movements for democracy sweeping the Middle East. Javad Larijani also warned the United States, Europe and the Arab League against meddling in the affairs of its ally, Syria, calling the potential threats ‘dangerous.’

Javad Larijani said Wednesday that Iran has supported the change sweeping the region “since day number one” when the uprisings began in Tunisia. He calls the Arab Spring a “fantastic and very important social change.”

Larijani, who heads Iran’s Human Rights Council, represents a government under international scrutiny for its alleged abuses of human rights, including the detention of political opponents and one of the highest execution rates in the world.

As a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he warned the West against any external pressure, especially military, in countries such as Bahrain and Syria where uprisings have become protracted and bloody.

In Bahrain, where the majority of the population is Shi'ite - the same brand of Islam that the majority of Iranians practice - Larijani told reporters at a news conference that regional and Western powers should not interfere.

“We are against military activity or military meddling of the affairs of Bahrain, either by Saudi brothers or others," he said. "We think it is totally against the interests of Bahraini people, against the security of the region, against the interests of Saudi as well. They won’t succeed. We believe the wish of the people of Bahrain - Sunni and Shi'ite together - are in the streets, not only the Shi'ite. So it will succeed.”

On Iran’s closest ally, Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is facing international calls to step down and suspension from the Arab League, Larijani condemned what he said is ‘incitement’ by the United States, European powers and Arab nations to urge the opposition to take up arms against the government.

“These are very dangerous events; we are against this kind of meddling in the situation," he said. "Our position is that all the hands should be cut off from this kind of interference. It is up to the people of Syria to decide. We respect, everybody should respect, the decision of the people of Syria.”

Asked about the move at the Arab League to suspend Syria, Larijani questioned the group’s motive, saying he did not think it was about protecting the rights of Syrians to pursue democracy.

“So it seems that democracy is not the issue," said Larijani. "So if democracy is not the issue, then what is the issue? I think the issue is they want to generate a government that is submissive toward Israel more than the present government.”

Iran has been sanctioned for nuclear activities that it says are peaceful. Western powers say Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, and a recent U.N. nuclear agency report appeared to support that accusation.  Larijani denied that Tehran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb and called the U.N. report a “disgrace” that lacked evidence.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid