Cleric Calls on West to Stop Arming Terrorists in Syria

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Tehran’s Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami called on the West and other supporters of Syria’s opposition groups to stop arming terrorists in Syria.

Cleric Calls on West to Stop Arming Terrorists in Syria

“Do not send your weapons to terrorists so that (the Syrian) people, both supporters and opponents of the (Syrian) government, can decide their own fate at the ballot box,” Ayatollah Khatami said Friday, addressing a large congregation of worshippers in Tehran.

He described the Takfiri terrorists in Syria that are armed by the West and its allies as "a serious menace not only to Syria but to humanity."

Many al-Qaeda-linked groups like the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are operating in Syria. Since the outbreak of the turmoil in Syria in March 2011, several video clips have been released showing the horrendous crimes committed by foreign-sponsored terrorists in the country.

The senior cleric further referred to the Geneva 2 conference on Syria, and said it was a “failed political show”, noting that the organizers of the conference themselves have acknowledged its failure.

The talks aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis kicked off in the Swiss town of Montreux on January 22. On Wednesday, UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said there is a “quite large” gap between the rival sides in the talks.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in Berlin on Thursday that the Syrian delegations would leave Geneva on Friday to brief their leaders and return to the negotiating table in February.

Elsewhere, Ayatollah Khatami referred to the developments in Egypt, regretting that the armed forces in the North African country are trying to repeat the “dark era” of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak when Egypt had been turned into a backyard of the Zionist regime.

“We were not very happy with the former Egyptian government (of Mohamed Mursi), either, as it had phobia about Iran and Shiites and trusted the United States,” he said, “But we can neither refuse to have stances on the current situation in Egypt. We strongly condemn the killings and arrest of innocent people in Egypt.”

Egypt’s top army generals, who deposed Morsi last July, have cleared the way for army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to run for president. Military commanders claim the people’s trust in Sisi is a call that must be heeded.

According to Amnesty International, 1,400 people have been killed in the political violence and army crackdown since Mursi’s ouster.

Also in his remarks, Tehran’s Friday Prayers Leader dismissed US President Barack Obama’s remarks in the State of the Union address, noting that US officials always repeat the “old and worn-out” rhetoric of threats against the Iranian nation.

Obama in his annual address said “we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options ….”

Ayatollah Khatami underlined that the great Iranian nation also has "all the options for defense" and will make the US regret it if it takes a foolish step.

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