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    In this picture released by official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a graduation ceremony of a group of the Revolutionary Guard cadets in Tehran, Iran.

    Iran Seeks to Lead Islamic Nations' "Crusade" Against 'Genocide of Rohingya'

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    Iran has stepped in to facilitate the resolution of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar by calling upon Islamic nations, most notably rich Gulf States, to demonstrate solidarity with Burmese Muslims and impose economic pressure on Naypyidaw, Iranian experts told Sputnik, denouncing the ongoing conflict in Rakhine State as "genocide of Rohingya."

    One of the ways to cope with the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar is to reduce economic cooperation with the Burmese government, thus exerting pressure on the country's military and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Iranian expert Sabbah Zangane opined speaking to Sputnik Persian.

    "[Aung San Suu Kyi] must be deprived of the Nobel Peace Prize for inaction and violation of human rights with regard to the Rohingya people, as well as for her support to the military engaged in the massacre of Muslim inhabitants [in Rakhine State]," Zangane, former Iranian parliamentarian and former ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) told Sputnik.

    The Iranian politician emphasized that "the Burmese military should not go unpunished and all responsible persons must be brought to justice." "This is one of Iran's demands," Zangane underscored.

    Although Iran does not have diplomatic relations with Myanmar, Tehran has stepped in to provide assistance to destitute Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing to Bangladesh amid clashes with Burmese government forces.

    Zangane explained that Tehran was trying to act through international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and other humanitarian structures.

    At the same time, Tehran has made diplomatic progress: The Iranian foreign minister has recently met with the Pope's delegation. Zangane emphasized that the Vatican has agreed to take measures to facilitate the resolution of the crisis in Myanmar.

    Mohammad Ali Mohtadi, a senior researcher at the Iranian Research Institute for Strategic Studies of the Middle East, denounced the ongoing turmoil in Rakhine State as "genocide of Rohingya Muslims" and called upon the United Nations to bring an end to the bloodshed.

    Drawing parallels between the current Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Iranian scholar bemoaned the fact that the UN and international community have yet to take the necessary steps to stop the crisis.

    He also lambasted "wealthy Persian Gulf States" for not paying enough attention to the Myanmar crisis, while being "entangled in the web of their own intrigues in Syria and Bahrain."

    "I believe that such a passivity on the part of the leading Islamic states of the OIC indicates [their] double standard approach, as well as indifference to the misfortunes of fellow Muslims," he stressed.

    According to Mohtadi, the OIC should take the initiative and demonstrate Islamic solidarity with Myanmar's Muslims, since Iran can't deal with the problem on its own.

    He referred to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's statement calling upon all Muslim states to team up in order to find a solution to the problem.

    "We hope that rich countries of the Persian Gulf will show Islamic solidarity, while international organizations, in particular the UN, will intervene to prevent this genocide," Mohtadi emphasized.

    On September 8, Zarif sent a letter to the UN urging the international community to take action to stop the Rohingya crisis.

    "It is expected that the United Nations act swiftly and undertake all necessary measures towards addressing international concerns about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar," Zarif wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    Earlier, on September 6 the Iranian foreign minister met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for relations with states for the Holy See, in Tehran. The two discussed the ongoing conflict in Myanmar's Rakhine State among other burning issues.

    For his part, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei proposed to exert both economic and political pressure on the Myanmar government, including downgrading diplomatic ties with the country.

    Meanwhile, on Thursday, Seyyed Hadi Afghahi, an Iranian diplomat familiar with the situation, told Sputnik that Iran has sent its first aid shipment to Rohingya refugees and wants to increase its humanitarian assistance to the destitute Muslim minority, adding a 50-ton aid supply shipment has already reached Bangladesh.

    The Rohingya crisis erupted on August 25 when Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin attacked security posts in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The tough response by the country's authorities triggered violent clashes. According to Reuters, more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the country since the beginning of the crisis.

    The century-old conflict has gradually escalated since 2011, hitting its peak in 2012, while another escalation started in 2016.

    Related:

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    Bangladesh Formally Protests to Myanmar Over Airspace Violations
    Moscow Calls for Refraining From Interfering in Myanmar Internal Affairs
    Number of Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh Reaches 391,000 - IOM
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    Rohingya Muslims, Rohingya people, genocide, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mohammed Javad Zarif, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Gulf States, Iran, United States, Russia, Myanmar
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