Syrian 'problem' needs no foreign intervention: Ahmadinejad

AFP , Tuesday 10 May 2011

Despite expressing its rejection of crackdowns on protesters, Iran maintains its cautious stand on Syria by referring to the demonstrations as 'limited' and stressing the exaggeration of reports on Syria by Western media

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Monday, (Reuters).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the government of Syria can solve its "problem" without foreign intervention, state television reported on Tuesday.

"The government and the people of Syria have reached a level of maturity to solve their own problem by themselves and there is no need for foreign intervention," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference in Istanbul, which was reported by state television Tuesday.

In contrast to its vocal support of uprisings that have swept the Arab world, Iran has been cautious in its stance on Syria, its main Arab ally.

The United States and Syrian opposition groups have accused Tehran of helping President Bashar al-Assad violently repress the uprising in which more than 600 people have killed since it erupted mid-March, according to rights activists. Iran has denied the allegations.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on Tuesday accused Western media of exaggerating of events in Syria.

"We in no way accept violent confrontation and crackdowns against those who express their demands peacefully," he told reporters.

But he accused foreign media of what he aid was an "exaggeration" of a "limited (opposition) movement" in Syria against Assad's autocratic government.

"Through their (Western) media, they are trying to exaggerate some of the limited (opposition) movements which may exist, and then portray them as if they are the demands of the majority of the people," he said.

"Even paying attention to this minority and its demands, if they are expressed peacefully, will consolidate the governments," Mehmanparast added.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the events in Syria are being fomented by Israel and Washington in order to weaken the Syrian regime which like Iran, remains a staunch opponent of the Jewish state.

"Foreigners seek to create unrest in Syria. We should not forget that Syria is at the head of resistance," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying in Doha earlier in this month, referring to resistance against Israel.

"Necessary reforms will take place there," Salehi said in an apparent reference to the lifting of four decades of emergency law and the unveiling of other reforms by Assad but which have failed to placate the anti-regime protesters.

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