President Rouhani: “US aggression strengthens regional extremism and terror”

Iran has stepped up its condemnation of the first deliberate US airstrikes on the positions of Syria’s Assad regime.

Like President Assad’s other essential ally Russia, Tehran was hesitant in its initial reaction. After several hours, Foreign Ministry Bahram Qassemi “roundly condemned any unilateral military action”. However, he continued to avoid a denial that the Assad regime may have carried out Tuesday’s chemical attack that triggered the US strikes.

By mid-afternoon, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif stiffened the response. Using Twitter, he said the US had helped Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and then “resorted to military force over bogus [chemical warfare] allegations: 1st in [Iraq in] 2003 and now in Syria.” He then allied the US with the Islamic State and Al Qa’eda:

President Hassan Rouhani followed on Friday night. He also invoked the Iraqi chemical weapons attack on Iran and then declared:

So far the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guards, who regularly warn that US military action in the region will be met with a firm response from Iran’s superior forces, have been muted in Tehran’s English-language outlets.