MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) – Iran has warned Washington against military intervention in Syria amid growing concerns about the Syrian government's alleged use of poison gas against civilians in the suburbs of Damascus, the Fars news agency has reported.
"Iran has announced many times that the Syrian crisis has no military solution and such provocative measures and comments will merely further complicate the situation in the region and create more tensions," the news agency quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Seyed Abbas Araqchi, as saying.
Iran believes the alleged gas attack in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus, was “carried out by terrorist forces,” Araqchi added. He said that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved “through talks” and no international body has issued a permission for military intervention.
His remarks came after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday the White House is studying different military options against Syria.
"President Obama has asked the Defense Department to prepare options for all contingencies. We have done that and we are prepared to exercise whatever option - if he decides to employ one of those options," Reuters quoted Hagel as saying.
The Syrian opposition has accused the government of killing scores of people in a massive nerve gas attack near Damascus on Wednesday, with death toll estimates varying from 100 to more than 1,000 people. The Syrian government promptly denied the reports as baseless.
Doctors Without Borders, an international medical charity working with hospitals in the Syrian capital, said on Saturday that thousands of people were hospitalized in Damascus in less than three hours on August 21 with “neurotoxic symptoms,” which indicate “mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.”
The charity group made clear that it cannot say with any certainty who or what caused these symptoms. According to information it has received, 355 of the 3,600 people treated reportedly died.
Iran’s Press TV said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem expressed readiness to give a team of UN investigators access to the site of an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb in a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart on Sunday.
Syria’s information minister said on Saturday that any US-led military action against the regime would be “no picnic.” "US military intervention will create a very serious fallout and a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East," Syria's official SANA news agency quoted Omran Zoabi as saying.
Updates with Syrian minister's quote.