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Monday, January 21, 2013
Assad overthrow red line for Iran

Assad's overthrow 'red line' for Iran
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The Peninsula - 21 January, 2013
http://gitm.kcorp.net/index.php?id=631176&news_type=Top&lang=en

A senior aide to Iran’s supreme leader warned against the overthrow of Syria’s
President Bashar Al Assad, saying his fate was a “red line”, in one of the
Islamic state’s strongest messages of support for the Damascus government.

Iran has steadfastly backed Assad’s rule since an uprising against his rule
began almost two years ago and regards him as an important part of the axis
of opposition against arch-foe Israel.

“If the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is toppled, the line of resistance
in the face of Israel will be broken,” Ali Akbar Velayati, who is seen as a
potential contender in Iran’s June presidential election, said in an
interview broadcast yesterday.

“We believe that there should be reforms emanating from the will of the
Syrian people, but without resorting to violence and obtaining assistance
from the US,” he told Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen satellite television. Asked if
Iran sees Assad as a red line, Velayati said: “Yes, it is so. But this does
not mean that we ignore the Syrian people’s right in choose its own rulers.”

More than 60,000 people have died in the uprising against Assad, part of the
Arab Spring protests that have swept aside four heads of state since 2011.
Iran, a regional Shia power which backs Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, describes
many Syrian opposition groups as “terrorists” who are backed by Western and
Arab states.

Assad follows an offshoot of Shia sect. Velayati said all parties linked to
the crisis in Syria needed to negotiate. “Anyone who comes to the talks
cannot negotiate on the table and support the armed elements, but must enter
the negotiations and stop supporting the armed elements,” he added.

Iran has sought international backing for its six-point plan to resolve the
Syrian conflict. The plan calls for an immediate end to violence and
negotiations between all parties to form a transitional government, but does
not call for Assad to step down.

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