1 September 2013 — Iran Times
Interview with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
By: Aseman Weekly
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic had sent an official memo to the United States through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran (which serves as the US interests section in Iran) last December, in which Washington had been forewarned that “handmade articles of chemical weapons, including sarin gas, are being transferred into Syria.”
In an interview with Aseman (Sky) weekly in Tehran, Zarif added, “In the same note, we warned [Washington] that radical groups might be planning to use these chemical agents. During this period [of war in Syria] Takfiri groups have been encouraged to continue their fratricide and war the result of which has been human catastrophes some photos of which we have already seen in the media.” the Iranian foreign minister, however, stated that the Americans have given no answer to that letter.
As put by Zarif, “Now, after the supporters of radical groups saw that such groups have gained nothing inside Syria, they have joined hands to lay a trap for the entire region and the United States as well to wage a new war in cooperation with those groups whose interests are tied to the war.”
In another part of the interview, Zarif emphasized that due to encouragement from Iran and Russia, the Syrian government accepted to offer full cooperation with the United Nations inspectors who aimed to take samples from the sites where the alleged chemical attack had taken place.
The Iranian foreign minister continued by saying that just in the same way that “we encouraged Syria to fully cooperate with the United Nations, we think that Syria should also hand in all [available evidence] it has [to UN authorities], so that, it would become clear under what conditions the chemical weapons have been used.” In this way, Zarif added, the trap that has been laid for the government of Syria as well as for those who want to launch military strike against this country will be thwarted.
“Apart from a warmongering group and a political group which has made wrong choices in the past, nobody would benefit from military action [against Syria]. By the way, that political group which has made wrong choices, may just find a temporary breathing space [as a result of waging war against Syria] without getting its main problem solves [through such a war],” the Iranian foreign minister said.
Asked about the impact of direct contacts between Iran and the United States on efforts made to find a solution to Syria crisis, Zarif said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has communicated its positions [on the situation in Syria] to the American officials through notes which have been sent through the Switzerland Embassy [in Tehran]. Unfortunately, there is one big problem with the American leaders. Instead of being [true] leaders [for their people] they are followers of specific political currents and certain interest groups.”
“We are trying to make the Americans understand that when a government takes its vote from its people to lead their country, it should not become a follower of specific groups,” the Iranian foreign minister emphasized.
As for the role of [the incumbent Syrian President] Bashar Assad in the evolution of the ongoing crisis in Syria, Zarif said, “We believe that the government in Syria has made grave mistakes and, unfortunately, [those mistakes] have paved the way for the situation in the country to be abused [by foreign powers]. However, let’s not forget that these conditions are actually being abused [for the wrong purpose]. The measures which have been taken by the opposition in Syria during the past two years, firstly, have not been taken by a democratic group seeking freedom, and secondly, have been taken by radical Takfiri groups that seek intensification of the conflict, violence and sectarianism. These groups form a minority, which unfortunately, has a loud voice.”
The Iranian foreign minister added, “We hope that logic and wisdom would finally prevail and prevent [a new] war [from being waged in the region]. The realities on the ground, however, show that the drums of war are being beaten. When the war drums are beaten there is usually no more room for logic and wisdom.”
The Iranian foreign minister continued by saying that the best practical initiative that Iran can take to prevent a war is “to show the pure realities of the region [to the American leaders].”
“Some people think that the Americans know everything. However, as we have already seen both in Afghanistan and in Iraq that the Americans happen to be unaware of many real conditions and easily fall into traps. Therefore, enlightenment is very important in this regard. The powerful countries are sometimes plagued so direly with their own delusions that they think they can solve all problems through mere reliance on brute force,” Zarif added.
Key Words: US, Chemical Weapons, Syria, Iran, Swiss Embassy, Sectarianism, Military Action, Zarif
More By Mohammad Javad Zarif:
*“It’s US Turn to Show Political Resolve”: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/-It-s-US-Turn-to-Show-Political-Resolve-.htm
*Photo Credit: ISNA (Iranian Student’s News Agency)