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Iran: Backing 'Terrorist' Groups Escalates Syrian Crisis

A senior Iranian official said Wednesday that those backing "terrorist" groups are responsible for the fighting and killings in Syria.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 1/30/2013, 7:00 PM

Syria fighting
Syria fighting
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A senior Iranian official said Wednesday that those backing "terrorist" groups are responsible for the fighting and killings in Syria, as he repeated Tehran's support of the Syrian regime.

"Iran believes that the cause of the Syrian crisis is the sending of arms to terrorist groups into Syria by some countries," Amir Hussein Abdullahian, the Iranian foreign ministry's undersecretary for Arab and African affairs, told a press conference in Kuwait, according to AFP.

"Those who send arms into Syria are responsible for the killings," said Abdullahian who is heading Tehran's delegation to an international donors conference for Syria being held Wednesday in Kuwait City.

According to the United Nations, more than 60,000 people have been killed in the 22-month old conflict.

Abdullahian said the Islamic republic fully supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his latest peace proposal and "believes that a political solution through national dialogue is the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis."

Tehran "has always asked the Syrian government not to commit any acts of violence against the people," he added.

Earlier this month, Assad presented a three-step plan to end the conflict, including an offer to hold dialogue with the opposition -- but only with elements he deemed acceptable and not rebel-affiliated groups.

Abdullahian said that Iran has donated $200 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, as well as logistical assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

He further said that Iran would provide the "necessary assistance" in the form of a pledge at the Kuwait conference, without providing figures.

Iran has remained steadfast in its support of the Syrian regime since the revolt erupted in March 2011.