PHOTO: Head of Iran’s armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi
Maintaining the Russian-Iranian campaign for US acceptance of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, the head of Iranian armed forces has said Washington must join Russia’s “courageous and genuine” airstrikes against the Islamic State.
General Hassan Firouzabadi said on Saturday, “Declaring war against Daesh [the Islamic State] while lashing out at a President [Assad who is fighting Daesh is not acceptable.”
More than 80% of Russia’s airstrikes since September 30 have been on opposition-held territory, rather than the Islamic State, and five of six ground offensives by the Syrian military are against rebels. However, Russia and Iran both maintain that the effort is focused on the Islamic State.
Russia and Iran are also pursuing acceptance of the Assad regime through international conferences in Vienna, including the most recent meeting on November 14. The two countries were able to remove any reference to Assad’s future from a statement which called for an 18-month transition with a ceasefire, regime-opposition talks, and Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
State news agency IRNA and Russia bolstered the PR campaign on Saturday by featuring US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who repeated her statement that President Assad should remain in power.
Zarif Blasts Saudis After UN Resolution Criticizing Russia-Iran-Hezbollah in Syria
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, responding to a UN resolution criticizing the military intervention of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah in Syria, has denounced Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee adopted a Saudi-drafted resolution which “strongly condemns all attacks against the Syrian moderate opposition and calls for their immediate cessation, given that such attacks benefit so-called ISIL [the Islamic State]”. It specifically noted “all foreign terrorist fighters…and foreign forces fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime, particularly [Iran’s] al-Quds Brigades [and] Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and militia groups such as Hezbollah”.
Zarif said on Saturday at a Foreign Ministry meeting marking the UN’s 70th anniversary:
Some countries who have fueled the fire of the ISIL [Islamic State] in the region for years, now have trespassed into new territories allowing them to prepare a human rights resolution without any positive advantage on the very human rights.
All those countries with undemocratic means of grasping power who do not know elections, would talk about “free elections” in Syria. Those who support ISIL would raise doubts about methods of fighting the terrorist group, and their resolution is approved for obvious reasons.