15:49 GMT +324 February 2017
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi (unseen) give a press conference at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport following their arrival on July 15, 2015, after Iran's nuclear negotiating team struck a deal with world powers in Vienna

    Iran’s Zarif Slams Saudi Aggression, Calls for Political Solution in Syria

    © AFP 2016/ ATTA KENARE
    Middle East
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    As Saudi Arabia considers deploying ground forces to Syria, Iran’s foreign minister has stressed the importance of pursuing a political solution, especially in light of ceasefire reached during the Munich talks.

    Early Friday morning, world leaders reached a last minute ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the violence in Syria. Expected to be implemented within one week, the agreement was praised by both US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    But ahead of the talks, Kerry spoke of the need for a backup plan, saying "there has to be consideration of a Plan B." This referred to the possibility of sending ground forces into Syria, something the Saudi Arabian government has expressed a willingness to do.

    On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed this directly, stressing that a "political solution" must be found to solve the crisis in Syria.

    "I think what is important for everybody is to focus on a political solution and not on complicating factors particularly boasting about situations that are more illusions than reality," he told reporters in Munich.

    Zarif also praised the success of the talks.

    "Whether some of the countries in the region continue to believe that these terrorist, extremist organizations constitute a bargaining chip for them, whether they can even provide short term advantage or whether they can wake up and see that these are threats first and foremost against them before they are even a threat against the rest of the region," he said.

    "But the agreement generally is to have a comprehensive humanitarian assistance and comprehensive cessation of hostilities which if implemented is a step in the right direction."

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has also criticized Saudi Arabian aggression, stressing that "coffins" await any aggressor in Syria, "whether they be Saudis or Turks."

    While there are still a number of obstacles that could stall the peace process, Zarif hopes that the ceasefire is upheld.

    "Everybody agrees that known terrorist and extremist organizations are not going to be a part of the ceasefire," he said.

    "I hope that the Munich negotiations will lead to a wise solution through the acceptance of realities by those who have kept, with their illusions, the Syrian people in pain and suffering and killing and homelessness."

    On Friday, Zarif also met with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss bilateral cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

    "The mutual disposition to further strengthening of Russian-Iranian cooperation in the interests of ensuring stability and security in the Middle East was reaffirmed," Zarif told reporters.


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    • A = π r 2
      'bargaining chip' is an accurate description of the way in which the extremist factions in Syria are being used to push a desired settlement from the Western perspective i.e. regime change. the basis is, legitimately and justifiably, to unify all parties involved to counter those factions, but where this becomes underhand is that this would necessitate more direct involvement from Western military forces; the crux of the strategy all along essentially.

      Yes, there should be some semblance of unity to counter Daesh and the other extremist factions, but only as a means to restore Syria to the hands of its population, not as an excuse to pursue ulterior objectives.
    • avatar
      Getting ready for Plan B.
    • Beady-eyed Insomniac
      Saudi may try to inflame the environment to justify rolling over the Syrian border. They appear to be reducing their input into Yemen at present, which is to be expected. Saudi could never operate on two fronts as they have difficulty managing one front. However, with preparations underway for 'thunder in the north' war-games with an Arab coalition - they may feel rather confident with sabre rattling
    • supportin reply toA = π r 2(Show commentHide comment)
      ultravi01et, very succintly put. Many thanks.

      I am at heart a very simple person. It seems to me that as Daesh does all their banking and administrative chicanery out of Mosul as well as most of their logistical supply chain management, the Ghordian knot to be cut is the Mosul Dam.

      Here is a BBC report from 2007 which shows the miserable condition of that hydroelectric facility from a safety standpoint. From what I have read most recently on the topic it is in worse shape than it was in 2007:


      Perhaps the following type of expertise would be appropriate to make a short job of an otherwise extended and even more civilian-killing war:

    • avatar
      There IS no peaceful solution and no REGIME CHANGE that KERRY keeps blabbing about.

      The FARCE is over. Kerry wants U.S to be seen as conqueror and get special places in Syria. After ALL they done? really? The propaganda is dead.
      That Saudi ambition with or without U.S blessing could end in disaster. U.S denies the A10's bomb anything. But hey, Russia have drones, radars, ships, satellites, and what not. Russia KNOWS EXACTLY who went in. Maybe is time Russia gets rougher and ask Turkey to do the camps inside Turkey. Turkey is scaring everyone with NATO IF it get's attacked. And as a result of NATO policies and winks, is invading neighbors. IF Russia DO NOT act and begin talks now? It would have a regional war in it's hands as soon as Kurd's, or Syrian forces get to the camps. And it will be soon enough.
    • support
      Coalition nations participating in what is ludicrously misnomered Operation Inherent Resolve which have conducted strikes in Iraq include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Coalition nations which have conducted strikes in Syria include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

      I would hate to be an air traffic controller in either Iraq or Syria. Who next is to join the Western nations' non-fight against ISIL ? Andorra? Lichtenstein? Monaco? Haiti?
    • avatar
      kerry there is no need for a plan b or the us if it comes to that.
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