Shooting Russian Plane a Big Mistake, US Backing Bigger

Shooting Russian Plane a Big Mistake, US Backing BiggerShooting Russian Plane a Big Mistake, US Backing Bigger

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said the Turkish downing of a Russian warplane near Syria border was a "big mistake" and the US support was a bigger mistake, which further intensify the Syrian conflict and divert attention from the fight against terrorism.

Larijani made the statement during a meeting with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn in Tehran on Wednesday, ICANA reported.

Turkey shot down the plane near its border with northwestern Syria early Tuesday, accusing it of violating Turkish airspace, while Russians deny that the airspace violation took place.

US President Barack Obama expressed his country’s support for Turkey after the incident, saying "Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace."

Expressing concern over Middle East chaos, he said the unrests have led to a security breakdown that should be ended soon.

"Unfortunately, some regional states, along with some westerners, support terrorist groups, aiming to use them as a tool [to promote their interests] which is a wrong thought," Larijani said. "The [resulting] insecurity will affect them, too."

The speaker refused the claim that "regime change" would help establish calm in Syria, saying that while half of Syria has been seized by the Islamic State militant group, applying pressure for toppling the Syrian government will only escalate crisis.

Larijani said the battle against terrorism must be waged on two fronts, one is militarily and the other is sociocultural, while dealing with the underlying sociocultural causes is a more effective way of rooting out the scourge.

Describing the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq (in 2001 and 2003 respectively) as a mistake that empowered terrorist ideologies, Larijani said the occupation of these countries has had no outcome except preparing the ground for the emergence of dangerous terrorist groups.

The top lawmaker said another reason for the rise of terrorism is the suppression and colonization of regional countries, which have angered some young people who do not agree to being controlled by others.

Larijani hoped that all countries will realize terrorism as a threat to the whole world, which needs to be dealt with seriously.

On bilateral relations, Larijani said Luxembourg has a strong reputation as a financial and banking center with high investment capacity and Iran welcomes its investments, especially in oil and gas industries.

Asselborn said Luxembourg is waiting for sanctions to be lifted soon, so it can expand relations with Iran and invest in the country.

"Luxembourg is Europe's financial heart," he said, adding that if economic cooperation between the two countries is established, political and cultural exchanges would also increase.

The Luxembourger minister said restoring calm in the region is of utmost importance, because regional conflicts would endanger the security of Europeans, too.

"We have never associated terrorist groups like IS with Islam," he said, adding that extremists are trying to tarnish Islam's image in the world.

Asselborn hoped that major regional states and world powers would reach a compromise about fighting terrorism and along with European countries, take steps to eliminate terrorist groups.

Arriving in Tehran on Tuesday, Asselborn met President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before conferring with Larijani on Wednesday.