Syria is unlikely to see peace in 2013 as the fighting in the country edges closer to civil war, Iran's ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaie-Far said on Thursday.
“I believe it is far-fetched,” he said when asked if he thought there could be peace in Syria this year. “It is unlikely, but we have also noted there were some signals in the past one to two months,” he added of remarks by UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi which he said Iran interpreted as marking the “end of the process of military options.” (Middle East Online, 24 January)
On the question if he believed some rebels had legitimate grievances, despite the regime branding them “terrorists,” Danaie-Far said: “There are serious opponents and serious defenders and they are fighting together.”
“Not anybody who objects (to) the Syrian government is a terrorist,” he said. “But they (rebels) have created the conditions where mercenary money and weaponry are injected into Syria.”
Danaie-Far claimed that 70 percent of rebel-held territory was under the control of the jihadist Al-Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, in an interview with AFP on Thursday, Danaie-Far said Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz if “U.S. chooses war.”
“The United States has nothing left to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program except for war, and if it chooses conflict Iran retained the right to close the Strait of Hormuz,” he said. (AFP, 24 January)
Photo credit: Iran's ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaie-Far during the interview in Baghdad. Thursday 24 January. (AFP/Middle East Online)