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Iranian foreign minister says US playing destructive role in Syria

April 28, 16:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the US of triggering tensions between ethnic groups and using various ethnic groupings

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© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. Unlike Iran, the US is playing a highly destructive role in Syria and it should be brought to account for this, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday upon completion of a meeting of foreign ministers of the countries united by the Astana format of negotiations.

Zarif accused the US of triggering tensions between ethnic groups and using various ethnic groupings, and that is why "if somebody speaks a destructive role in the region this only means the US Administration is to face responsibility for it."

As for Iran’s role, it boils down to struggle with the terrorist groupings like the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and others.

Zarif also recalled the US aggression against Iraq and operations in Afghanistan, adding that the US policies in the region "had led to nothing except destructions and expansion of extremism."

"Iran has always stood against this devastating policy and the upheavals the latter has brought along," he said.

On Astana format

Only the Astana format (Russia, Iran and Turkey) can lead to peace and dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, the minister said.

"As for the Astana process that was launched 16 months ago, we made efforts to ease the suffering of the Syrian people," he said. "This is the only process now that, in cooperation with the UN and other participants, may lead the situation to a just and stable peace and political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Zarif noted that only the Astana process managed to pave the way for political negotiations on Syria in Sochi, "where all ethnic and confessional groups were present."

"The success of this process is abundantly clear," the diplomat added. Countries that are not supporting negotiations in Astana "are not supporting peace in the region," the Iranian foreign minister stated.

On Syria’s sovereignty

It is inadmissible to violate Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under invented pretexts, according to Zarif.

"Today, we agreed that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and that it is necessary to focus on political settlement. The entire world must recognize the fact that it is inadmissible to attack a country, violate its national sovereignty and territorial integrity under far-fetched pretexts, it is inadmissible to exert pressure," he said, recalling the airstrike delivered by the United States, France and the United Kingdom at targets in Syria under a pretext of responding to the use of chemical weapons.

"The countries that once supported Iraq when it used chemical weapons (against Iran in the Iranian-Iraqi war in September 1980-August 1988 - TASS) have no right to say today that they are against chemical weapons," Zarif stressed.

"Obviously, it is being done in the interests of reaching their political goals," he noted. "Such actions only delay political settlement in Syria. That is why we hope that an unbiased international investigation at the site of [alleged] chemical attack will yield results as soon as possible."

The Iranian top diplomat called on all members of the international community to offer support to Syria. "The international community must help the Syrian people to restore that country," he said. "It is a common responsibility of the international community before the nation that is fighting against terrorist organizations Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State (both outlawed in Russia) and is defeating these very dangerous threats. It is necessary to spare no effort to ease suffering of the Syrian people."

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