Iran announces 6-point plan for Syria

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Iran’s Foreign Ministry has offered a six-point plan for solving the Syrian crisis, while Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi continues to emphasize that Iran would not under any circumstances support a “Western project for the overthrow by force of Bashar al-Assad.”

The plan stresses at the outset that “only the people of Syria have the right in a democratic process to determine their destiny and the political future of their country.”

The six points are translated below:

  1. The immediate cessation of any kind of violent or armed action under the supervision of the United Nations. At this stage the government and all armed groups must immediately end all their military activities, especially in residential areas and cooperate with the representative of the United Nations and the committee under their supervision for the stabilization of the conditions [of the country] and the return of calm.
  2. After the cessation of conflict the provision of humanitarian aid must immediately begin to [be given to] all conflict-stricken areas and without discrimination. In order to secure this important aid it is necessary that economic sanctions against Syria are lifted [and] the ground prepared for all refugees to return to their place of residence.
  3. At the same time as the establishment of calm, comprehensive national dialogue with the presence of the entire [political] spectrum and different social and political tendencies and the government of Syria, the urgent pursuit of the formation of a committee for national reconciliation. This dialogue must provide the way for the formation of a transitional government on which there is consensus. The main obligation of this government is the holding of free and competitive elections for the formation of a new parliament, the formation of an Assembly of Experts for the formulation of a Constitution and the holding of presidential elections that will be set for a fixed date.
  4. All individuals who have been merely arrested because of peaceful political activities, irrespective of group or sect, must be quickly freed by the government and opposition groups. Individuals who have perpetrated crimes must be fairly investigated in a competent court.
  5. The process of incorrect news transmission regarding changes in Syria must end as soon as possible. All the media and media owners must have the possibility to prepare and send news on the conditions of Syria from a secure place and send all the views of the people of this country for the informing of public opinion, in contrast to malicious and discriminatory approaches.
  6. The formation of a committee for estimating the cost of damages and reconstruction, with attention to the damages to the country’s infrastructure. The obligation of this committee will be for the creation of the appropriate modus operandi for the attraction and guidance of foreign aid, determining priorities for reconstruction and the conditions for the participation of organizations and friendly countries in the process of reconstruction.

In the final part, the Foreign Ministry said that the “key aim of this plan is for the return of calm and peace to Syria and ending the sufferings of the people of this country.”

“This plan like any other similar well-intentioned plan, will have the power to be implemented when the ability for mutual, constructive and collective political engagement between all domestic, Syrian political currents and forces under the influence of regional and international powers rules.”

Ali Velayati, senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for international affairs, has told ISNA that “today the European Union has become a tool of America and this Union from the perspective of foreign policy is nothing and they only listen to the White House. Whatever America wants the European Union does and this is political colonialism; the European Union and NATO cannot do [anything] other than America decides. These countries can’t even make a decision on the basis of their own interests.”

Velayati then commenting on the state of the American economy said: “The number of people claiming coupons prior to Mr. Obama was 40 million, but today it has reached 50 million. Of course this doesn’t mean that we don’t have problems. I only want to state the different between science in the service of power and science in the service of faith.”

Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, in reaction to statements regarding the United States’ desire for direct negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran has said, “One can’t trust the statements of this or that American office, but I believe America’s politics must be judged on the basis of the practical behavior of the American government. Even if this recent claim is also honest, it is extremely doubtful. This suggestion [for direct negotiations] does not conform with their behavior.”

Domestic News

Mehdi Hashemi, the son of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and incumbent head of the Expediency Discernment Council, has been freed from jail on bail after 81 days in solitary confinement. Hashemi’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabai, has said that Hashemi pledged his home as collateral for release on bail.

Raja News alongside other outlets has claimed the collateral pledged for Hashemi’s release amounts to the sum of 10 billion tomans. Raja ironically queries Rafsanjani’s statement made upon his son’s arrest that “there is no difference between [his] children and other people’s children.”

Image: Mehdi Hashemi, with his father, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and mother, Effat Marashi, via Etemaad.