Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Syrian opposition is dreaming if they think they can oust President Bashar al-Assad because they are in no position to overthrow the Syrian government.
In an interview with the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zarif said that the main goal for all sides in the Syria conflict should be to end the war.
“All should try to end the war and then improve the humanitarian situation. This would prepare the ground for finding a political solution,” Zarif stated.
“If this process is not realized, the war will continue for another three years,” he told the German-language Swiss daily, which conducted the interview during Zarif’s trip to the Swiss city of Davos, where he accompanied Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who spoke at the World Economic Forum.
Commenting on the fact that Iran is not participating in the ongoing talks on Syria in Geneva, Zarif blamed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who invited Iran to the conference at the last minute and then suddenly withdrew the invitation, under pressure from the United States.
“For me, the credibility of the United Nations has been used as (part of) a game,” Zarif said.
“I was not awaiting an invitation from the UN secretary general in the first place, and then came the withdrawal. There is no reason to put the blame on Iran,” he added.
Asked about Iran’s support for Hezbollah and the resistance movement’s assistance to the Syrian government in its military campaign against the militants, Zarif said Tehran is fully prepared to use its influence to encourage all foreign fighters to withdraw from Syria. He also denied that Iran has any military presence in the Arab country and said that the Islamic Republic has only sent some advisors to help the Syrian government.
Zarif also elaborated on Iran’s determination to implement the nuclear deal with the six major powers and cautioned the United States not to intensify the sanctions imposed on Iran.
“More sanctions would only result in more centrifuges,” he said in reference to Iran’s steady progress in installing thousands of centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium over the past few years, despite the fact that the country has been under harsh economic sanctions.
“The sanctions have not prevented us from installing 19,000 centrifuges,” Zarif stated.