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Iran’s supreme leader says Western attack on Syria a crime

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said coordinated air strikes on Syria by the United States, France and Britain on Saturday were a crime that would bring no benefit.

“Today’s dawn attack on Syria is a crime. I clearly declare that the president of the United States, the president of France and the British prime minister are criminals,” Khamenei said in a speech, according to his Twitter account.

“They will not benefit (from the attack) as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits,” Khamenei added.

Iran – the dominant Shia Muslim power which is in rivalry with Saudi Arabia and the United States’ other Sunni Arab allies – has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most supportive ally against insurgents throughout the conflict.

Militias backed by Tehran helped Assad’s army stem rebel advances and, following Russia’s entry into the war in 2015, turn the tide decisively in the Syrian government’s favour.

Iran’s pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani warned that the US-led missile attacks would lead to further destruction in the Middle East, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“Such attacks will have no result but more destruction … the Americans want to justify their presence in the region by such attacks,” Rouhani was quoted as saying, signalling that Iran’s support for Assad would grow.

“Americans should expect the consequences of their actions”

An official in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Islamic Republic’s most powerful arm, said fallout from the attacks would harm Washington.

“With this attack … the situation will become more complex, and this will surely be at the expense of the United States, which will be responsible for the aftermath of upcoming regional events that will certainly not be in their interest,” Yadollah Javani, the Guards’ deputy head for political affairs, told Fars news agency, adding:

The resistance front will be strengthened and it will have more capacity to act against (US) acts of intervention. Americans should expect the consequences of their actions

Iran often refers to regional countries and forces opposed to Israel and the United States as a “resistance front”.

In a statement, the IRGC said: “This unrelenting confrontation shows that the Syrian people, with the support of the strategic allies of Damascus, will not stop until achieving complete victory,” Fars reported.

Iran’s military chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri assured Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub of Tehran’s continued support.

Middle East Monitor

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