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Iran Issues Warning over Possible Attack on Ally Syria

Threats and counter-threats reveal volatility of regional crisis

by
Jon Queally, staff writer

An Iranian man holding his national flag walks past a demonstration in Tehran on May 10, 2013 condemning Israeli air strikes near Damascus. Iran has warned a visiting top UN official of "serious consequences" for the region in case of international military action in Syria, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said Tuesday.

A spokesman for its foreign ministry has issued a warning on behalf of Iran saying that a Western attack on its regional ally Syria would result in "serious consequences."

According to Agence France-Presse, the message was conveyed by Mohammad Javad Zarif in a meeting with UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman in Tehran.

"The use of military means (against Syria) will have serious consequences not only for Syria but for the entire region," said Abbas Araqchi, an Iranian spokesman, who recounted conversations between Zarif and Feltman for reporters.

AFP reports:

The main regional ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has in recent days warned against Western military intervention in Syria after suspected chemical weapons attacks outside Damascus last week.

The Assad regime and rebels groups fighting it have accused each other of carrying out the attacks, which are said to have killed hundreds.

Araqchi repeated claims that there was "proof" of Syrian rebels having used chemical weapons, adding that Russia, another key Assad ally, had submitted it to the UN Security Council.

Highlighting what he called the "sensitive situation" in the region, Araqchi advised the West to exercise "wisdom" in dealing with Syria, especially since "there is no authorization from the Security Council" for military action.

The warning from Iran—little different from that coming from U.S. Secretary of State on Monday, who also claimed "proof" of chemical weapons and issued ominous warnings of ill-defined "consequences"—only goes to highlight the volatile nature of the geopolitics surrounding rising tensions regarding Syria.

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