A pentagon official said that Iran’s military presence in Syria makes reaching a lasting political solution in the country increasingly unlikely.
“Iran’s presence and malign activities make it increasingly unlikely we’ll see an enduring political solution,” Robert Story Karem, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs told a congressional hearing on the situation in Syria on Wednesday.
Echoing the US official’s remarks, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iran continues its aggressive policies in the region and accused it of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Syria.
Speaking at the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) conference in New York City on Tuesday, Jubeir said that the Iranians view Syria as a gateway to Hezbollah and practice ethnic cleansing in many areas across Syria. He stressed that Iran is dangerous even without nuclear weapons. He warned that if Iran possesses nuclear weapons, then it cannot be stopped because the danger is not in its power but in its behavior.
For his part, Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States, said that the solution to the Iranian threat is linked to regime change in Tehran.
UAE ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba said that external pressure was needed and would be key in changing Iran’s course. “I think any recalibration of Iranian foreign policy will come from external policy,” said Otaiba, who added the isolation of Tehran must be backed up by European powers, Asian nations, as well as the United States.
Since late 2012, Iran has been sending sectarian militias from Iraq and Lebanon to fight alongside the Assad regime in Syria and support it in its suppression of the revolution. Through its blatant interference in Syria, Iran is seeking to establish itself a regional power alongside Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Last week, the Anatdolu news agency published a report detailing the distribution of Iranian terrorist groups in Syria. It said that there were 22 groups comprising 120,000 militants who are deployed on 232 locations across the country. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)