President Rouhani: US response to Assad chemical attack “basically wrong” and “benefits terrorism”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has warned that further US airstrikes on Assad regime positions in Syria “could be very dangerous for the region”.
Rouhani told a news conference in Tehran on Monday that last Friday’s US missile strike on an Assad airbase which launched a chemical attack was “basically wrong” which “benefited terrorism”.
Over the weekend, Iran coordinated its line with the Assad regime and Russia. Rouhani spoke with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Hassan Rouhani, and the head of the Iranian army conferred with Assad regime and Russian counterparts.
On Sunday, the Supreme Leader intervened publicly for the first time in months over the Syrian crisis, telling military commanders, ““What the Americans did was a strategic mistake and error and they are repeating the [same] mistakes as their predecessors.”
Rouhani said yesterday:
America did this once, but will it go unanswered next time? Russians have said that a confrontation was only a few inches away. They are quite right, if the missiles had hit a few hundred meters higher or lower, it could have led to a major confrontation.
The President said he had proposed to Assad and Putin that a fact-finding committee be formed to visit Khan Sheikhoun in northwest Syria, the site of last Tuesday’s chemical attack, so “everything will be clarified”.
Despite the witnesses, medical staff, photographs, and videos pointing to regime responsibility, Rouhani tried to pin blame on Syrian rebels:
What if this committee goes there and finds out this has been done by the terrorists? What will the Americans’ answer be then?
What will become of Syria and the region’s situation if the terrorists realize that whenever they release some gas somewhere, America will practically back them?
Iran and Russia have been the essential political and military backers of the Assad regime since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, with Iranian putting in thousands of troops and Iranian-led militiamen to take over most of the ground operations from the Syrian Army.
Rouhani called for further measures on Monday, “The Syrian government and people should respond to this strike on the battlefield and deal a blow to the terrorists to show to America that such actions are futile.”
His only concession over the chemical attack was that it is “necessary that some reforms are…done in the Syrian government”.
Iran: We May Get 1st Boeing Jet A Year Ahead of Time
Iranian officials have asserted that Iran Air may get its first new Boeing jetliner a year earlier than expected.
Iran had been expected to receive the first of 80 aircraft, agreed in a December deal, in April 2018; however, Deputy Roads and Urban Development Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan said the first Boeing 777 aircraft would reach Tehran within a month.
The officials said at least one brand-new aircraft is unused because it is no longer needed by Turkish Airlines, which is deferring deliveries due to fewer passengers following last year’s failed coup attempt in Turkey.
Boeing said it never comments on talks with customers.
Iran announced a deal for 118 of France’s Airbus aircraft in January 2016, and then the Boeing agreement. However, Tehran has struggled to fulfil the terms because of credit and financial issues amid ongoing US restrictions.
Only three Airbus planes — none of them the largest sought by Iran Air for long-distance flights — have been received so far, and the deal has been cut back to 100 aircraft.