Zarif: Demands for Assad's Ouster Cause Bloodshed

Iran's foreign minister claims that demands for the resignation of Syrian President will prolong the country's civil war.

Ben Ariel ,

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Monday said that demands for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will prolong the country's civil war, reports The Associated Press (AP).

Those demanding Assad's ouster "are responsible for the bloodshed in Syria," he claimed, according to the report.

Zarif didn't name any specific country but was likely referring to Turkey's and Saudi Arabia's repeated calls for Assad to step down. The two Sunni Muslim countries have supported rebels fighting against Assad.

Zarif spoke at a press conference on Monday with his visiting Spanish counterpart, José Manuel García-Margallo. The top Iranian diplomat also said the Syrian crisis has no military solution.

Iran is Assad's key regional ally, providing him with financial and military support.

Iran’s former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops, though Assad a few months ago denied there were any Iranian troops in Syria.

Several days ago, a senior Iranian official said his country had submitted a peace plan to Assad to try and end his country's four-year war.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian however told a news conference in Damascus that any initiative to end the conflict would have to recognize "the pivotal role of Assad."

The peace plan was submitted to Assad by Zarif during a visit to Damascus on August 12, he said.

The UN Security Council recently adopted a new push for peace talks in Syria, which was also endorsed by Russia, another key ally of the Damascus regime, and the other 14 member states.