Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that the United States was sure to “suffer loss” if it took military action in Syria, adding that Washington was using the reported chemical weapons attack near Damascus on August 21 as a pretext for intervention. The US claims the attack was perpetrated by the Syrian regime and killed 1,429 people.
“In the case of Syria, the chemical attack is a pretext… The Americans try to play with words and pretend that they’ve become involved in this case for humanitarian aims,” Khamenei told a meeting of the Assembly of Experts, a state body, quoted by Reuters.
“I believe the Americans are making mistakes in Syria and they have felt the impact and will certainly suffer loss,” he said.
The new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Thursday that any military action in Syria would be harmful to the region and to “US friends.”
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 5, 2013
Earlier Thursday, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s political and media adviser pointed the finger at al-Qaeda for the chemical attack.
Bouthaina Shaaban said the terror organization was responsible just as just as it was responsible for “killing Syrian people, raping women, [and] kidnapping Christian clerics.”
“The same people who were on the London Tube and who killed British people, the same people who on 9/11 in New York killed American people, they are the same people in Mali, the same people in Libya, the same people in Iraq, the same people in Syria,” she stated as reported by Iran’s Press TV.
She called on the US to provide proof that the regime was behind the attack, saying Washington was “using the same lies, the same fabrications, the same claims, in order to target our country and our people.”
The Syrian regime has denied using chemical weapons, calling US claims “blatant lies.” The Syrian opposition has been consistently backed by Russia, which has warned the US against any action that wasn’t UN-backed, and by Iran.
Iran has remained a staunch ally of the Syrian regime and has actively helped Syrian troops loyal to Assad on the battlefield. The Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has also been an active player on the side of Assad in the civil war that has raged in the country for two-and-a-half years, claiming the lives of over 100,000 people, according to the latest UN figures.
On Wednesday, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force said Iran would defend Syria “until the end,” according to a report in the Fars news agency. Kassem Sulemenai reportedly also said that the majority of Syrian rebels are foreigners and that the US has attempted repeatedly to topple Assad, unsuccessfully.
Meanwhile, a Senate panel on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing US President Barack Obama to order a limited military strike in Syria. Obama is also seeking congressional approval for a military response.