Iran's Khamenei calls for Syrian elections to solve crisis

Khamenei calls for an end to military and financial aid to the opposition of Syrian government


Reuters November 01, 2015
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI: Iran's clerical supreme leader said elections should be held in Syria to end the civil war there and criticised foreign powers that arm and fund Syrian opposition fighters, state television reported on Sunday.

In an annual address to the Islamic Republic's top diplomats, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said that US objectives in the Middle East were the opposite of Iran's and that negotiating with Washington on regional issues was meaningless.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended the meeting after returning from inconclusive talks with world powers in Vienna on Friday aimed at finding a solution to the war, the first time Iran had participated in such talks.

Khamenei says nuclear deal, if passed, will not open Iran to US influence

"The solution to the Syrian question is elections, and for this it is necessary to stop military and financial aid to the opposition," several state media outlets quoted Khamenei as saying.

Iran has backed President Bashar al-Assad throughout Syria's conflict and sent troops to assist his army. Other regional powers, including Iran's rival Saudi Arabia, support a variety of armed rebel factions.

The war, in its fifth year, has killed around 250,000 people and displaced millions more. The Vienna talks were attended by 17 countries including the United States, which has called for Assad to leave power as part of a political transition process.

He has refused to do so. But Khamenei, who tolerated talks with the United States to reach a deal on Iran's disputed nuclear programme in July, has ruled out negotiating with Washington on any other issue.

"The Americans are trying to impose their own interests, not resolve issues, 60 or 70 percent through negotiations and the rest through illegal actions. So what is the meaning of negotiating with them?" the conservative hardline leader said.

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COMMENTS (2)

Ch. Allah Daad | 5 years ago | Reply Elections in a country which is completely destroyed and more than half of its population has fled? Iran is no less responsible for the destruction of both Iraq and Syria. When Saddam was removed, elections were held and a democratic government was formed in Iraq, it was Iran which turned into a Shia State. Sunnis were sidelined who had no option except to fight back. In Syria too, it was Iran who gave Hafiz Asad freehand to kill thousands of his own countrymen. It is Iran which started Shia Sunni conflict in secular Iraq and Syria. West started the fire but Iran and Saudi Arabia put all their oil into it.
cautious | 5 years ago | Reply Khamenei doesn't know the meaning of the term "free elections". Iran tosses their political opponents in jail, closes down newspapers that criticize the govt, and like some Muslim countries vets the candidates for religious purity before allowing them to run for office. Also - neither Iran or Russia wanted elections back when this debacle started .... now that 6 million anti Assad voters have fled the country it's suddenly OK?
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