PHOTO: Ali Akbar Velayati, the Supreme Leader’s advisor on foreign policy
The top aide of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, has continued to denounce the US and Western countries over alleged links with the Islamic State.
Velayati, a former Foreign Minister, said on Saturday that the West had only joined a UN resolution condemning ISIS out of embarrassment for their past support of the militants:
The West supported ISIL [Islamic State] since the wake of the crisis in Syria; now they have been abashed by the crimes of the group, and since ISIL has ceased to benefit their interests, western countries have come to condemn the group.
The West should be held responsible for crimes by ISIL.
He asserted that those behind the Islamic State “should be tried as war criminals”.
Velayati also repeated that the removal of President Assad in Syria is a “red line” for Iran:
In any election inside Syria, definitely no other candidate than Mr. Assad would canvas the votes of the majority of the public….
Parties outside Syria are in no place to decide on behalf of Syrian people; the future government of Syria should be elected by the people inside.
Iran, which has joined international conferences seeking a political resolution in Syria, has gone farther than Assad’s other key ally Russia in its declaration that the President must remain in power. Moscow has opposed any timeline for Assad’s departure but has not said that he must be able to participate in elections at the end of a transition.