AFP
Last updated: 27 August, 2013

Iran warns of grave consequences of Syria attack

Iran has warned a visiting top UN official of “serious consequences” for the region if there is international military action in Syria, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said Tuesday.

The message was conveyed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a meeting on Monday with UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who is in Tehran for talks that included Syria, Araqchi told reporters.

“The use of military means (against Syria) will have serious consequences not only for Syria but for the entire region,” Araqchi said recounting conversations between Zarif and Feltman.

The main regional ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has in recent days warned against Western military intervention in Syria after suspected chemical weapons attacks outside Damascus last week.

The Assad regime and rebels groups fighting it have accused each other of carrying out the attacks, which are said to have killed hundreds.

Araqchi repeated claims that there was “proof” of Syrian rebels having used chemical weapons, adding that Russia, another key Assad ally, had submitted it to the UN Security Council.

Highlighting what he called the “sensitive situation” in the region, Araqchi advised the West to exercise “wisdom” in dealing with Syria, especially since “there is no authorisation from the Security Council” for military action.

The remarks came after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the use of chemical weapons was undeniable, and that the Obama administration would hold Damascus accountable.

Kerry also suggested that the US was moving closer to a military response after consulting its allies.

Earlier British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the West could act on Syria even without full UN Security Council backing.