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Iran urges dialog after US hints at Syria attacks



Iran says diplomacy and dialog is the only solution to the Syria crisis after a US official says Washington might use military options against Syrian army positions. 

“Peaceful solutions, especially Syrian-Syrian negotiations, remain the priority in political efforts to resolve this problem,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday.

His remarks came a day after US State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington was “looking at the full range of options” against the Syrian army which is fighting to drive out Takfiri terrorists from Aleppo.

The Russian military strongly warned the United States against striking the Syrian army, calling on Washington “to carefully weigh possible consequences of the fulfillment of such plans.”

Qassemi said, “Six years of war, the massacre of innocent and defenseless people, destruction of all infrastructures and displacement of the Syrian people have proved that resorting to violence and bloodshed and promoting terrorism is fruitless.”

A US air raid on Syrian army positions near Dayr al-Zawr killed 83 Syrian soldiers on Sept. 17, with Moscow and Damascus both rejecting the US explanation that the attack was a mistake.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Syria on Friday on Russian request while council members were discussing a French-drafted UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Aleppo.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura will brief the council via videoconference from Geneva at 1400 GMT.

De Mistura urged militants from the former Al-Nusra Front — which renamed itself Fateh al-Sham Front — to leave Aleppo under a deal to halt further escalation of the situation.

No official visited Yemeni capital

Qassemi earlier dismissed a report carried by a Saudi newspaper alleging that an Iranian Foreign Ministry official recently visited the Yemeni capital.

Al Watan on Thursday claimed that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaber Ansari had recently traveled to Sana’a for talks with leaders of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

“Fabrication of such news by Saudi media takes place while the route to Sana’a has been closed for several months and Saudi Arabia does not even allow Yemeni nationals to travel” to the city, Qassemi said.

Al Watan had claimed that the Iranian official had asked the Houthis to announce the formation of a new government in cooperation with the Yemeni political party of General People’s Congress.

“Circulation of such news comes in line with Riyadh’s numerous instances of prevarication in the wake of their recurrent and back-to-back defeats during their military invasion of Yemen,” Qassemi said. 

Yemen’s military and allied Ansarullah and popular forces regularly target pro-Saudi militants inside Yemen and troops in the kingdom’s southwest.

Saudi Arabia has been waging a military campaign against Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to the former Yemeni government, a close ally of Riyadh.

Yemenis carry belongings they recovered from the rubble of buildings destroyed during Saudi airstrikes in Hudaydah on September 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Late last month, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshrou addressed the UN Security Council, rejecting claims that Tehran was arming Ansarullah.

He said Saudi accusations to this effect were “quite astounding” as Riyadh itself has invaded Yemen and used “a full variety of lethal weapons against Yemen’s civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

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