Iran Parliament Official: ‘First Victim’ of Syria Attack to Be Israel

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As the United States sends a fourth warship to the eastern Mediterranean, Iranian commanders and officials have issued warnings against any attack on Syria in response to alleged chemical-weapons use by Syrian forces.

The director of parliament’s international affairs committee, Hossein Sheikholeslam, said today that the threats to attack Syria are “propaganda gestures by Washington, [who] wants to encourage the opponents of the Syrian government who have suffered heavy failures in the field and politically.” He added that “The strategy of Western countries and especially America is to destroy Syria and weaken its ability to fight against the Zionist regime.”

On the possibility of an attack on Syria, Sheikholeslam said, “Assuming such an event does take place, the first victim of an attack on Syria will be the Zionist regime, because the army in Damascus has the ability to attack with severity the occupied territories and can level a point that is tied to Washington’s national security.”

On Russia’s possible response to an attack on Syria, Sheikholeslam said that Russia is an ally of Syria and that the port of Tartus is an “urgent need” for it. He added that Russia will not “repeat the same mistake” that it made in Libya in allowing foreign intervention. Sheikholeslam said, “After the crisis in Damascus, Russian’s place at the international level has been promoted and the leaders of countries opposed to the government of [President] Bashar al-Assad have visited Moscow to convince [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to withdraw his support of Assad.”

Sheikholeslam believes that accusations that Syrian forces used chemical weapons are related to the fact that “Syrian’s government had successes politically and on the field” and that the “armed opposition are in a state of decline and confusion.” He added, “The reason the Geneva II conference has not taken place is because of the empty hands of the opposition politically and in the field, and the internal differences between terrorist groups.”

After a press conference in honor of “Basij Day,” Commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of Basij paramilitary forces, was asked, “How serious do you believe America’s threat to enter war with Syria is?” Naghdi said that the US “does not have the ability to enter a serious war in the region. Neither will their economic ability allow them nor do they have the appropriate spirit for a new war. Therefore, this ability is not there. Of course, they can test themselves.”

Many reports suggest that the United States may launch missile strikes against Syria in the coming weeks after President Barack Obama met with his national security team on Saturday to discuss the recent allegations of chemical-weapons use. Obama previously called the use of chemical weapons a “red line.” United Nations inspectors are currently in Damascus to investigate whether chemical weapons were used on Aug. 21 in the Damascus suburb of Al Ghouta.

Iran and Russia have been two of Syria’s most ardent supporters. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned today that an attack on Syria would have “extremely dangerous consequences.”