Last Updated: Sun Oct 23, 2011 08:55 am (KSA) 05:55 am (GMT)

Iran’s Ahmadinejad condemns Syria for ‘killings and massacre’

Posters of (L-R) Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on display at an exhibition in Syria earlier this year demonstrate the crucial alliance between the two nations. (Photo by Reuters)
Posters of (L-R) Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on display at an exhibition in Syria earlier this year demonstrate the crucial alliance between the two nations. (Photo by Reuters)

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the “killings and massacre” in Syria in an interview with CNN, in Iran’s strongest criticism yet of its key ally’s deadly seven-month-old crackdown on dissent.

“We condemn killings and massacre in Syria, whether it is security forces being killed or people and the opposition,” Ahmadinejad said, according to excerpts of the interview reported in Farsi by the website of Iran’s state broadcaster on Saturday.

“We have a clear formula for Syria and that is for all sides to sit together and reach an understanding... therefore these killings cannot solve any problems and in the long term it will lead to a deadlock,” he added.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the “killings and massacre” in Syria in an interview with CNN, in Iran’s strongest criticism yet of its key ally’s deadly seven-month-old crackdown on dissent.

“We condemn killings and massacre in Syria, whether it is security forces being killed or people and the opposition,” Ahmadinejad said, according to excerpts of the interview reported in Farsi by the website of Iran’s state broadcaster on Saturday.

“We have a clear formula for Syria and that is for all sides to sit together and reach an understanding... therefore these killings cannot solve any problems and in the long term it will lead to a deadlock,” he added.

Turkish warning

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Iran in mid-September “not to spoil” the Syrian leadership.

“I cannot say there has been tension with Iran but we warned them (the Iranians) that ‘the Assad administration is getting spoiled with your encouragement,’” Erdogan said.

Tehran has made maintaining good relations with Ankara a priority in recent years, and has considered Turkey an ally for its refusal to implement Western sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program.

But in recent months Tehran has criticized Ankara over its agreement to host an early-warning radar as part of NATO’s missile defense system. Tehran says the system is aimed at protecting Iran’s arch-foe Israel.

The European Union has accused Iran of assisting Syria in its crackdown on anti-government protests, a charge Tehran has rejected as “baseless.”

In late August, the EU named the al-Quds force, the covert operations arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards, on a new list of those under sanctions for their suspected role in quelling the protests.

The European Union accused the force of providing “technical assistance, equipment and support to the Syrian security services to repress civilian protest movements.”

Ahmadinejad’s statements are the first to go against the official policy towards the Syrian uprising set by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei has called the upheaval in Syria a “fake revolution” fabricated by the U.S. and Zionists.

Ahmadinejad has in recent months been battling constant criticism from hard-line conservatives accusing him of being in the thrall of “deviant” advisers who want to undermine the role of the Islamic clergy, including the office of supreme leader.

His latest comments on Syria can be viewed as the widening of the rift between himself and the supreme leader which has now spilling over onto Iranian foreign policy.

Iran on Friday hailed the killing of long-time ally and former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in the capture of his hometown Sirte and said it hoped his death would spell a swift end to NATO's military intervention
Iran once enjoyed strong relations with Qaddafi, who broke rank with Arab states to support the Islamic Republic in its war against Iraq in the 1980s.

“The inevitable fate of all dictators and oppressors who do not respect the rights of their people is destruction,” the official IRNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

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