US Regional Policy Divorced From Reality

US Regional Policy Divorced From RealityUS Regional Policy Divorced From Reality

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson denounced recent comments by her US counterpart John Kirby who accused Iran of supporting what he called terrorist organizations.

“Such repetitive remarks are contrary to realities on the ground and are aimed at diverting attention from the underlying causes of regional problems,” Marzieh Afkham was quoted by IRNA as saying on Tuesday.

“Iran’s acts in the region are based on its interests and driven by its sense of responsibility. No one can dictate its policies on Iran.”

She blamed ongoing regional conflicts on Washington’s interventionist policies, saying, “Serious and real problems leading to the Syria crisis are an outcome of military interference and adoption of a double standard by the US and its allies and their use of terrorism as a tool [to advance their interests].”

To positively contribute to efforts toward political transition in Syria “the United States must abandon its military approach and terrorist-nurturing policy,” Afkham said. “A halt to such a dangerous behavior and putting an end to ambiguous and opportunistic approaches will be one of the necessary and effective steps to help settle the Syria crisis.”

  Destructive Moves  

Criticizing Washington for provision of “financial and logistical support” to terrorist groups, she said, “Such measures as categorizing terrorists [to good and bad]…, funding their military training and other moves with such a destructive impact have led to the current grave problems and critical situation in  the region.”

US State Department spokesperson Jon Kirby told a daily briefing on Monday that “Iran has not been playing a helpful role in the region, certainly with respect to Syria, with their support to groups like [Lebanon’s] Hezbollah and continued efforts to support the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime. So it’s largely been an unhelpful role.”   

“So if you’re asking me what can they do to be helpful, stop supporting the Assad regime, stop supporting Hezbollah, and agree to work towards a successful political transition.”

He said Iran’s role is too important to be ignored in negotiations over the Syria conflict, according to a transcript of his remarks carried by the website of the State Department. “We know there’s going to need to be a conversation with Iran towards the end of a political transition there, towards that end.... Obviously, at some point we know there’s going to have to be a dialogue with Iran.”

A civil war in Syria has dragged on for over four years, resulting in the loss of over 250,000 people and displacement of millions so far. Disagreement over the fate of the Syrian president between his supporters and opponents has overshadowed efforts to help find a diplomatic settlement to the protracted conflict.

Washington and its allies want Assad to leave power as part of any solution, while his backers, Tehran and Moscow, insist that he should have a role in Damascus’s future.