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Syria/Iran – exclusive interview

Assad fears US aggression in Iran

Article published on the 2008-07-10 Latest update 2008-07-10 16:38 TU

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.(Photo : AFP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
(Photo : AFP)

Ahead of his scheduled visit to Paris this weekend, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad told Richard Labévière of RFI’s French service that a US attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences throughout the world.

“There is nothing more dangerous that an attack against Iran,” Assad said in an exclusive interview.

Syria supports Iran’s right to develop a civilian nuclear program, and Assad does not believe Washington’s allegations that it is developing nuclear weapons. He claimed that this charge falls into a US pattern of inventing pretexts to go to war.

 “I see no logic for a war [against Iran] … but unfortunately, our experience with the current American administration is not encouraging. It’s an administration with a policy founded on war, and that looks for pretexts to unleash military operations,” Assad said. “The only solution is a political one. Negotiations led by European countries must continue.”

Assad’s Paris visit is part of a significant improvement in Syria’s international relations.  

The US and Israel, which is still formally at was with Syria, have accused Damascus of interfering in Lebanese polititcs and backing violence in Iraq. Opposition leaders in Lebanon suspect that Syria had a hand in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

But Assad insisted that Syria has co-operated with the international investigation into Hariri’s death. And he says that Syria wishes to mediate between the Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, while his country has recently launched indirect peace talks with Israel.

“For us, the central question is the recovery of our land,” he says and adds that restitution of land seized by Israel is not an exclusively Syrian but the subject of a UN Security Council resolution. “This is the only condition. The only international, and not Syrian, condition.”

“If we can come to an agreement on this question, on the return of land and security arrangements, the remaining problems will be much easier to resolve.”