Israel Strikes Aimed at Heartening IS

Israel Strikes Aimed  at Heartening ISIsrael Strikes Aimed  at Heartening IS

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the recent Israeli airstrikes against Syria were aimed at boosting the morale of the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

In a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Tehran on Monday, Zarif condemned Israel's airstrikes against Syria and said such attacks are carried out to raise the spirits of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, who have suffered repeated defeats over the past weeks, ISNA reported.

Syrian state television said on Sunday that Israeli jets had bombed areas near Damascus International Airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon, Reuters reported.

"The Israeli enemy committed aggression against Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, in all of Dimas and near Damascus International Airport," state television said, adding that there were no casualties.

Zarif said, "The Israeli move in launching airstrikes against targets in Syria indicates cooperation between the regime and terrorist groups."

"We are seeking a way to end bloodshed and find a political solution (to the Syrian crisis)," he added.

In a press release on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham also denounced the Israeli air raids and called on the United Nations to meet its obligations to prevent Israel's acts of aggression.

In response to a question on addressing irrelevant and nontechnical issues such as the Syrian crisis in the negotiating process between Iran and the major powers on Tehran's nuclear program, Zarif said, "According to what has already been stated by the Leader and the president, our talks with the United States exclusively focus on nuclear issues."  

Zarif said the nuclear issue is too complicated, so no room remains for other issues to be raised.

The foreign minister said, "Our region is currently facing an international crisis, and the people in Iraq and Syria are paying for it," adding, "Fortunately, their resistance against the wave of extremism sponsored by foreigners has succeeded in demonstrating the hideous image of terror and intimidation to the world."

Zarif said, "Iran rightly recognized the threat to the region earlier and backed the Iraqi and Syrian nations."

The foreign minister touched on various approaches adopted in the fight against IS terrorists and extremism and said, "I discussed such methods in the meeting with Mr. Muallem today and we reviewed the recent developments over the past weeks."

Zarif added, "The only way to fight extremism is to launch an international and all-embracing cultural, political and economic campaign and to cut financial aid to terrorist groups."

  Pursuit of Political Solution

The Syrian foreign minister, for his part, said, "Syria will continue its resistance. We are making efforts to reach a political solution (in cooperation with) Iran and Russia," the Fars news agency reported.

Muallem said, "My visit is aimed at expressing gratitude to the Leader (of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali) Khamenei, President Rouhani and the brotherly nation of Iran for their support of the Syrian nation's resistance."

In a separate meeting on Sunday, Zarif conferred with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari and the two officials discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues, IRNA reported.

On his visit to Iran, Jaafari said, "The visit has been made to deepen bilateral relations and in response to historical and geographical realities between the two states."

  Common Menace

He described the "strategic threat" of IS terrorists in Iraq as a "common menace" for both countries, adding, "This threat requires the two states to expand relations to their highest level."

Jaafari continued, "Iraq's foreign policy is on the basis of establishing mutual relations with all the world's countries, including Iran, Syria, Turkey and Jordan; and we should help reinforce these ties."

He added, "Currently, Turkey and Syria are experienceing strained relations for which we are trying to help ease the tensions."

"But with respect to Iran, we feel responsible to show the brilliant image of the country to the world and the region."

For his part, Zarif said, "Iran has been consistently prepared to enter strategic constructive talks with all regional countries, and it sees no limits for cooperation with neighboring and regional countries."

He reiterated, "Iran makes efforts to reduce tensions in the region, and it strongly believes that a region with stability and free from tension and crisis is to the benefit of all nations (in the region)."