PHOTO: Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan — Syrian ceasefire is “wartime trick for the regrouping and rearming of the terrorists”


Iran has backed the rejection by President Assad of a ceasefire in Syria’s largest city Aleppo.

Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said on Wednesday, after a meeting with Red Cross President Peter Maurer: “We believe requests for cessation of hostilities in Aleppo serve the interests of terrorist groups and to improve their odds in a desperate situation under siege, where they replenish their arms and logistics and instill fresh spirit to their mercenaries.”

The statement runs counter to a claim by journalist Borzou Daragahi, from an unnamed source, that Assad’s key allies Iran and Russia are willing to discuss an opposition proposal for a 5-day ceasefire. The source said that the Assad regime immediately rejected the initiative, a position reinforced by the President’s interview with a pro-regime outlet.

See Syria Daily, Dec 8: Assad Rejects Aleppo Ceasefire

Iran’s political, economic, and miltary support for Assad has been essential for the President’s survival in the 68-month conflict. The Islamic Republic has provided billions of dollars — in oil and in funds — to prop up the economy. From 2012 it trained the National Defense Forces, a militia to supplement the depleted Syrian military. In September 2015 it put in more commanders and troops, as well as leading Iraqi and Afghan militias, alongside Russia’s aerial intervention.

In contrast to the position on Aleppo, Dehghan said Iran was “ready through humanitarian action and assistance” to support “the oppressed people of Yemen”.

Saudi Arabia, Iran’s rival in the region, and allies have intervened with ground operations and airstrikes from March 2015 against the Houthi insurgency which took over Yemen’s capital Sana’a. The Red Cross and the UN say millions are at risk in one of the world’s poorest countries, with thousands of civilians killed in the past 21 months.

See Yemen Feature: A Guide to the Civil War

President-Led Committee Denouces US Sanctions Renewal

The Iranian regime has continued its denunciation of the US Congress’s renewal of sanctions, with a supervisory committee monitoring the July 2015 nuclear deal producing the latest criticism on Wednesday.

The committee, headed by President Rouhani, said the 10-year extension of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act is “unjustified”.

Following the line set by the Supreme Leader, high-level officials, and Parliament, the committee added that it is studying retaliatory measures.

See Iran Daily, Dec 7: Tehran Complains to UN About US Sanctions Renewal

The US House of Representatives and Senate have both voted, with only a lone dissenting vote, for the ISA’s extension. The measure awaits President Obama’s signature.