April 16, The Iran Project – Following US President Donald Trump’s order despite international warnings against further escalation of the situation in Syria and across the Middle East, in the early hours of Saturday, the United States, Britain and France launched a barrage of missile attacks against the Arab country in response to what they claimed to be a chemical attack in the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta region. The move has drawn several mixed reactions from Iranian and global leaders and officials.
Some of foreign officials lauded the action as long overdue in a meantime; others condemned it as “an aggression.”
The fresh strikes by the US marked the second time that President Donald Trump has authorized attacks on Syria.
He ordered a missile strike against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province on April 7, 2017. Trump claimed back then that the air field had been the origin of a suspected sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province on April 4, 2017.
This is while Syria turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
The US launched a missile strike on Syria contrary to its own legislation, according to Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Vladimir Yermakov.
“One of the leading nuclear powers has conducted a massive missile strike against another state without the mandate of the UN Security Council, contrary to its own legislation and on absolutely cover-up pretext,” Yermakov elaborated.
The diplomat went on saying that Russia will respond properly to any US attempts to exert pressure.
Here’s a look at the reaction of key countries to the Syria’s strike and their stakes in the conflict.
“Smart missiles an attempt to destroy alleged chem attack evidence in Syria”
Earlier, responding to a threat from US President Donald Trump, who said Russia should prepare for “nice new and smart missiles” launched by America at Syria, Moscow had said if the weapons were smart, they would target terrorists.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova noted that the US may be seeking to undermine an inspection by chemical weapons experts, who are planning to investigate on the ground in Syria after the alleged attack which sparked the current confrontation between Russia and the US.
Iran slams “incursion”
In the wake of fresh attacks of US and its allies to Syria, several high-ranking Iranian officials condemn the military attacks of three countries and warned on the regional and trans-regional consequences of the attack.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that military attack of US and its allies on Syria is condemned and is a flagrant crime beyond international norms.
He pointed his finger to the presidents of the US, France and British prime minister and called them criminals who carried out heinous act in Syria.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the “aggressive” US move to carry out military strikes against Syria reveals that Washington has direct ties with terrorists.
“The Americans showed such a reaction when they felt that the terrorists were dislodged from an important region like Eastern Ghouta,” Rouhani said in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a day after US-led strikes on Syria.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also condemned the recent attack, stressing that no country has the right to arbitrarily take punitive action against other nations.
In a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Boris Johnson, Zarif said the airstrikes over the alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, came “exactly at a time when the Syrian army had the upper-hand against terrorists and they were on the verge of defeat”.
Moreover, Iranian Army in a statement denounced the Saturday morning airstrike.
“Whenever the terrorists have been involved in a dire condition in anti-terrorism fights in Syria and Iraq, the US together with some Western countries have entered the scene to compensate terrorists’ defeats,” the statement reads.
In another development, the speaker of Majlis (Iranian Parliament) Ali Larijani stated that the era of wild actions and false gestures is over, noting that, “the UK, the US and France attacked a Muslim country contrary to all international laws; what’s more unfortunate is that some Islamic sates along with the Zionist regime, supported the crime.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) also has strongly condemned a recent attack, saying it will boost the Syrian nation’s resolve in its fight against terrorism.
In a statement released on Saturday (April 14), the IRGC said the US, Britain and France carried out the criminal and deceitful attack in Syria based on a false claim that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in the militant-held town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta region.
World leaders censure strike
In a meantime, several world leaders in separate remarks lambasted the move by the three Western states.
Lebanese Hezbollah strongly condemned the tripartite brutal aggression on Syria. In a statement, the Party said that the tripartite aggression constitutes a flagrant violation of the Syrian sovereignty and a clear support to the Israeli latest aggression on Syria.
Secretary General of Hezbollah movement Hassan Nasrallah also asserted that the US-led missile strikes on Syria failed to achieve its goal and namely “to terrorize Syrian troops, raise morale of insurgents or serve interests of Israel.”
Besides, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has described the attack against the war-torn country as a “criminal act.”
“We say that this attack is a criminal act against the people of Syria, which was carried out with the aim to create panic and terrorism and destroy the scientific centers of the country,” Maduro said.
Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN Bashar al-Jaafari reiterated that the aggression on Syria came as a revenge for the defeat of these three countries’ terrorist proxies in Ghouta.
Also, Russian President Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.
“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the UN Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement called on the member states of the Security Council to come to an agreement on establishing a mechanism for holding accountable those who use chemical weapons.
“Any use of chemical weapons is abhorrent. The suffering it causes is horrendous. I have repeatedly expressed my deep disappointment that the Security Council failed to agree on a dedicated mechanism for effective accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Guterres said.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International in a statement said: “Millions have fled Syria to escape violence and persecution. The Trump administration must not turn its back on the suffering of men, women, and children by continuing to ban refugees from entering the United States. It is time for the US to reopen our doors to people trying to escape from the violence in Syria.”
Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other top Lebanese politicians commented strikes against the Syrian government, with most denouncing the move as a potentially dire misstep.
“The “tripartite” decision to fire on Syrian army bases and a research center “impedes all ongoing attempts to end the suffering of the Syrian people,” Aoun added, warning that the strikes would further entangle world powers in Syria’s civil war.
Algeria has criticized the airstrikes, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said, adding that, “Algeria can only regret the strikes.”
Egypt also voiced its concern about the latest military escalation in Syria, saying it would negatively affect the safety of Syrian people.
A statement released by the Egyptian Foreign ministry condemned the use of chemical weapons.
Although, in a sign of “double-standard” behavior, several western courtiers including Australia, Italy, Spain, etc. and some Arab states, Saudi Arabia in particular, and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have supported the attacks.
To sum up, it should be noted that military strike is not a solution for settlement of any crisis and negotiation is considered as a key for settlement of dispute in this war-hit Arab country.
Iran has repeatedly called for political solutions to regional conflicts, urging for respecting the territorial integrity of all countries.