Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister on foreign and security affairs Sartaj Aziz discuss the latest regional developments, particularly the Syrian crisis.
In a Monday telephone conversation, Zarif denounced the use of chemical weapons in Syria and urged the settlement of the crisis in the Arab country through dialog and via political channels. He condemned a potential military attack against the Syrian government and nation, saying it would further complicate the crisis and spread instability, terrorism and extremism in the region. The call for military strike against Syria intensified after the Takfiri militants and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. The Syrian government categorically rejects the claims and says the attack was carried out by the militants to draw in military intervention. Zarif and Aziz called for the continuation of talks on regional developments and issues of mutual concern. Meanwhile, in a phone conversation with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully on Sunday, Zarif dismissed as “unacceptable” any use of chemical weapons and expressed Iran’s opposition to efforts by some countries to wage a new war in the region. US President Barack Obama delayed an imminent military strike against Syria on August 31 to seek approval for the move from the Congress, which will debate the issue when federal lawmakers return from recess on September 9. The Obama administration has, however, said it “has the right” to attack Syria even if the Congress does not approve the measure. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million displaced due to the violence.