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Iran offered Syria’s Brotherhood power if it agreed to Assad staying on: official

Iran has offered the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood a deal that includes giving the Islamist opposition group all of the government, but under the condition that President Bashar al-Assad remains as the country’s premier, an official said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.

Mohammed Taifour, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s Deputy Superintendent and one of its representatives in the country’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, told the London-based al-Hayat Newspaper that via a Turkish businessman he knows three Iranian merchants requested to see him.

Taifour, who rejected negotiation with the Iranian businessmen citing Iran’s support of the Syrian regime, said their deal offer started first with giving the Islamist group four ministerial positions and ended with giving them the entire government, as long as Assad kept his leadership position.

The initiation of the first deal offer came three months ago, said Taifour.

Taifour rejected the notion that Hamas had played an intermediary role, saying that his group’s relationship with Hamas is almost nonexistent.

In early January, the Arab League chief, Nabil al-Arabi, asked the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, to ask Syria to work to halt violence against protesters.

Instead, the high-ranking Brotherhood official called for the international community to protect Syrian civilians and supported the French foreign minister’s proposal of creating safe corridors.

“There must be a direction from the Arab League to issue a report and transfer it to the Security Council,” he told the newspaper.

At the same time, Taifour rejected the Western powers’ call to unify the Syrian opposition, describing such idea as “marriage by force.”

He said that the National Coordination Committee includes officials who are close to the regime, in addition to national opposition figures.

He also accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah, along with Iran, of aiding the Syrian regime with human resources and logistical support. Most of the snipers in Syria, according to Taifour, are either Iranian or Lebanese.

The U.N. has estimated that there are more than 5,400 Syrian civilians, dissidents, protesters who are killed since the beginning of the uprising against the Syrian regime in March.

He said that there is a huge difference between the positions of Hamas and Hezbollah. Hamas, he said, is quiet and semi-neutral, while Hezbolla is definitely pro-Assad.

Meanwhile, he rejected that the revolution in Syria is heading towards militarization of the opposition; instead he blamed the onus on the regime for wanting to drag Syrians into a sectarian war.

Iran supplying Syria?

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday there was “growing evidence” that Iran was supplying weapons to Syria to help in the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Cameron blamed the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah for channeling arms into Syria where 5,400 people have been killed in violence since March, as he described President Bashad al-Assad as a “wretched tyrant.”

He promised that Britain would “lead the way” in tightening sanctions and asset bans against Syria.

“There is now growing evidence that Iran is providing a huge amount of support,” Cameron told lawmakers.

“There have been interceptions of some shipments by Turkey which are particularly interesting.

“People should also know that Hezbollah is an organization standing up and supporting this wretched tyrant who is killing so many of his own people.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Tuesday that a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria was “long overdue”, but conceded that it was unlikely Russia would let the U.N. body take any serious action.

Prolonged talks on the issue at the Security Council on Tuesday failed to move closer to U.N. action on the bloodshed, diplomats said.