|‘Calm Syrian election can only be held if transfer of terrorists, arms stopped’||
TEHRAN – A high-ranking Iranian Foreign Ministry official says that it will not be possible to hold a “calm election” in Syria if the dispatching of terrorists and the shipment of arms to the country are not halted.
The Syrian presidential election is scheduled to be held in summer 2014.
“What can guarantee the holding of the election is the establishment of calm in the country, and this requires the serious will of countries and players which currently support the sending of arms and foreign armed forces to Syria (to stop doing so),” Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, told the ISNA news agency in an interview published on Sunday.
Security will “return” to Syria if foreigners stops supporting terrorists, the diplomat said. However, he added that he believes that the Syrian Army and volunteer forces are gaining the upper hand in the country in the war against insurgents and terrorists.
“But it should be borne in mind that as long as borders are not controlled and the transfer of arms and terrorists is not stopped, definitely we will not have an election in a calm situation.”
The remarks by the Iranian diplomat came after the second round of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition ended in Geneva on Saturday with little tangible progress. However, the two sides agreed on a tentative agenda for a third round of talks.
The opposition insists on forming a transitional government while the government wants to discuss how to tackle terrorism.
Terrorists from many countries, including Western states, have poured into Syria.
Over 100,000 people have been killed in the bloody three-year conflict. A ceasefire agreed upon in the first round of talks to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Homs fell apart last week, as exchanges of fire between government forces and rebels injured aid workers.
Iran was not optimistic about Geneva talks
Abdollahian said from the very beginning, Iran was not optimistic about the Geneva talks.
And unfortunately, the Geneva conference did not give a space to countries which could effectively help settle the Syrian crisis, he added.
Iran regards Assad as the legal president
Abdollahian said Iran regards Bashar al-Assad as the “legal president” of Syria and will deal with him until a new “real and democratic” election is held in the country.
He added that the Syrian government has announced that it is ready to hold the election at the scheduled time.
If those opposed to the Syrian government are interested in shaping the country’s political future through elections, they should commit themselves to a political solution and stop military and security provocations, he said.
“In different negotiations that we have with certain Western sides, we ask them why they do not support elections when it comes to the Syrian question.”
When there is a similar problem anywhere else in the world, Western countries say that an election is the solution, but in the case of Syria they are seeking to depose the Assad government and form a transitional government, he stated.
In an indirect reference to foreigners who are helping opposition groups in Syria, he said, “If you are sure that Assad is not liked by his people, let the situation in Syria calm down and… a consensus be reached on international supervision of an election. If Assad wins 4000 votes and not 14 million, then announce to the world” that Assad is unpopular.
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