Iran denies aiding Syria crackdown

Iran on Saturday rejected US President Barack Obama’s accusation that its ally Syria has sought Tehran’s help in the violent suppression of protests in the Arab country.

“We reject these declarations. Our foreign policy is very clear — we do not intervene in the domestic affairs of other states,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, quoted by Al-Alam television.

Obama said after dozens of protesters were killed Friday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens through the same brutal tactics that have been used by his Iranian allies.”

Friday’s bloodshed came as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets for protests to test long sought-after freedoms a day after Assad scrapped decades of draconian emergency rule.

Mehmanparast on Saturday also criticised the use of force against the demonstrations, but without mentioning Syria by name.

“We respect the sovereignty of other countries and we respect the demands of people. We consider as unacceptable the use of violence against the people of any country,” he said.

Syria has been Iran’s main ally in the Arab world since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

On April 14, the United States accused Iran of helping to suppress protests in Syria.

“We believe that there is credible information that Iran is assisting Syria… in quelling the protesters,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

Syria on Saturday also slammed Obama’s comments, saying they were “not based on an objective vision of the reality on the ground.”

Khaleej Times