'Those trying to overthrow Assad have created “this mess” in Syria'

TEHRAN, Oct. 05 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while condemning war crimes, said those who seek to overthrow the government in Syria through the use of ISIL have created “this mess” in the Arab country.

Speaking to Al Jazeera host Mehdi Hasan about the Syrian situation, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif stressed that “Iran has not participated in any activity in any populated area, and ... will never do so in the future.”

“We condemn any attack against civilians no matter who does it. I condemn anybody using chemical weapons, and at the same time, I condemn groups who use civilians as shields,” Zarif said when asked to comment on accusations against the Syrian government.

He said that the current situation in Syria is the fault of the people who “prevented a political settlement because of an illusion that they could remove Bashar al-Assad from office.”

When asked repeatedly to comment on the Syrian government’s part in the crisis, Zarif said he can only talk about Iran’s responsibility in the Syrian settlement, stressing that he’s here only to defend Iran.

“Iran wanted a political settlement. They refused. They wanted their mercenaries, these foreign fighters, that today we don’t know what to do,” said Zarif.

When asked about Iran’s presence in Syria, Zarif said “there is a government in Syria, and last time I checked, that government has a seat in the United Nations. Those who try to overthrow that government through the use of Daesh [ISIS], through the use of Nusra, are the ones who have created this mess.”

Zarif further stressed that “nothing justifies war crimes”, noting Iran’s own history of fighting a war waged by Iraq where war crimes were committed against Iranian civilians.

Zarif’s comments were part of a short preview clips posted by the Al Jazeera host on his twitter. The full interview will be published later today.

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