Syria’s prime minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi, center, arrives at conference hall of Nonaligned Movement summit in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) Photo: Vahid Salemi, Associated Press / SF
Iran’s supreme leader said Friday that emerging nations have a greater right than the West or United Nations to help resolve Syria’s escalating civil war.
The comments appeared to reflect an attempt by Iran to lead a diplomatic push over the crisis in its close ally Syria through the Nonaligned Movement, the grouping of 120 nations whose annual conference Tehran has hosted this week.
Iran has hoped to use the nonaligned summit to head off foreign intervention in the Syrian crisis and also to counter Western efforts to isolate Tehran over its nuclear program. The United States and its allies say Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran denies the claims and says its program is for peaceful purposes.
Tehran has faced an uphill challenge in garnering support for Syrian President Bashar Assad. Some in the organization – particularly Sunni Muslim majority nations – are more sympathetic with the rebels, if not outright backing them.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met Friday with Syria’s prime minister, Wael Nader al-Halqi, and Damascus’ delegation to the conference.
“The Nonaligned Movement definitely has more political right than the U.S., NATO or some European countries to intervene in the Syrian issue,” Khamenei said. He did not elaborate on what kind of role the group should have.
The United Nations and Arab League have both led ultimately failed efforts to negotiate an end to Syria’s violence, in which thousands have been killed since early 2011.
Iran, Syria’s key remaining ally in the Middle East, has provided Assad’s government with military and political backing for years.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/world/article/Iran-Give-nonaligned-nations-Syria-role-3832608.php#ixzz25DL5nUVI