Zarif: Obama May Steer Away from War on Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US President Barack Obama entered the White House with ending wars on his agenda, so he may not be willing to plunge himself into a new war, Iran’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“We have always warned against the outbreak of wars in the region, and time and again condemned the use of chemical weapons,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on the sidelines of the Wednesday morning cabinet session in a short meeting with reporters.
At the same time Iran cannot yield to foreign powers’ bullying in “our region” because "we believe bullying and brute force will unleash extremism."
The US has been pushing for military action on Syria, after foreign-backed opposition forces accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of carrying out a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, a charge the Syrian government has strongly denied.
US President Barack Obama, however, stopped short of ordering a strike on Saturday and said he would seek the endorsement of Congress for any assault on Syria.
On Tuesday, leading Democratic and Republican senators like Robert Menendez and Bob Corker reached a deal on a motion authorizing a limited strike on Syria.
The resolution, which was put forward by the White House and re-worded by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says any military operation in Syria should be limited and tailored. It also bars the use of US troops on the ground.
The motion, which could be voted on as early as Wednesday, sets a 60-day deadline for military action, with a possible 30-day extension.If the draft is approved by the committee, it will be sent to the full Senate for a vote after members return on September 9 from their August recess.
The House of Representatives must also pass its own version of the military authorization and the two must be reconciled before they can be sent for Obama's approval.
But he still faces a difficult task winning the support of the American public. A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed some 56 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria, while only 19 percent supported action.