An audio file reportedly of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s voice has surfaced, in which he says that the people of Syria have been “attacked by chemical weapons by their own government.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
Majles Speaker Ali Larijani met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and representatives of Palestinian groups residing in Damascus.
During his speech at the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Larijani made a number of critical comments, alleging “some countries in the region that don’t enjoy democracy themselves cannot create political reforms and democracy in Syria.”
Also striking a negative note vis-à-vis the prospect of negotiations with the Western powers, he said, “America and the West won’t give anything to anyone in negotiations … All the plans till today which have been suggested by America and the West regarding Palestine have been defeated.”
“With the presence of Hezbollah, many successes have been obtained and if the spirit of resistance and struggle was not in Palestine the victories won up to now would not have been obtained … in the last three decades the state of the Americans and Zionists has been facing decline, the example of which we witnessed in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
On the Gaza conflict, Larijani was equally forthright, stating that Israel has been damaged both politically and in terms of its security as a result: “What is growing in the region is resistance … because Syria performs a fundamental role in the resistance, America accompanied by some Western countries and the Zionist regime are trying to fabricate problems and create of insecurity.”
Larijani met with Ahmed Jibril, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who alongside Larijani claimed, “The honourable position of Iran with respect to Palestine is a reason for pride amongst all the resistance groups.”
Referencing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s infamous comment dubbing Israel a “cancerous tumour,” Jibril added, “the Islamic Republic from the outset till now has not changed this Islamically lawful position and it adheres to the words of Imam Khomeini …The nation of Palestine has crossed difficult circumstances and we clearly announce that Palestine is in pursuit of the destruction of Israel.”
Larijani also and more importantly met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been reported that Assad thanked Larijani for Iran’s help and efforts in support of Syria and stated that his regime “in addition to combating terrorism will take steps on the path toward the successful advancement of national dialogue.”
Assad also reportedly thanked Iran for organizing a conference in Tehran with the “Syrian opposition,” to promote national dialogue.
In reply to a journalist’s question at the end of Assad and Larijani’s meeting, Assad stated “there is perpetual contact between us and the Iranian authorities [and] in all respects.”
Larijani also stated, “When some regional countries don’t even send a single shell for the Palestinians [and] are scared, the government and nation of Syria has put all its resources in the control of the nation of Palestine and this has resulted in some of the powers of the region sending armed groups to Syria.”
Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Majles’ National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has told Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, that “the defeat of the Zionist regime in the 9-day war with the resistance is the fourth defeat of this regime by the resistance …The first defeat of the usurping Zionist regime was in 2000 with the liberation of the occupied territory of southern Lebanon by Hezbollah; the second time was in the 33-day war with Hezbollah and the third when it faced defeat in the 22-day war with Gaza. This time for the fourth time after nine days of war they were again defeated by the warriors of Hamas and the resistance …The duration until the Zionist regime’s defeat in the face of the resistance warriors of Gaza has decreased to 9 days, which means the beginning of the destruction of the Zionist regime as an illegitimate, usurping regime in Palestine.”
Boroujerdi concluded by saying, “The Hamas authorities have clearly stated that the resistance without the financial and military aid of Iran could not attain victory, which is also a source of pride for the regime of the Islamic Republic and the Revolution.”
Image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Majles Speaker Ali Larijani in Damascus via Fars News