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Syria crisis 'can engulf region'

posted Oct 3, 2012, 3:29 PM by Syrian Transition
03 Oct 2012 (Gulf Daily News) Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday warned that hostilities in Syria could engulf the region and accused some Syrians of trying to use their country's conflict to settle scores with Tehran.

In comments to Al Jazeera television, Ahmadinejad said a national dialogue and new elections - rather than war - were the only way to solve the Syrian crisis, saying the Syrian people should choose their own path.

"There is another way to find a solution, it is national, mutual understanding in order for there to be elections in the future," he said.

Ahmadinejad made similar remarks at a news conference in Tehran. "We don't say what they should do. We help them sit down and reach a mutual understanding ... We don't say who should go and who should stay, this would be interfering in countries' affairs. But we say it is people's right to choose," he said.

Every world power involved in the Syrian crisis "had (made) its own mistakes," he said, warning that the Syrian conflict would spread to other countries in the region, if it was left unsolved.

"Tomorrow, the atmosphere in Jordan may be like what Syria is experiencing. Thus, we must search for a practical and good solution for all the people of the area, otherwise catastrophes will fall upon us all."

Iran is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, who has been battling an uprising against his rule. Ahmadinejad suggested the Syrian crisis was being used to try to undermine Iran. "All the Syrian people are respectable, but some want to settle accounts with Iran," he said.

Ahmadinejad said he feared that calls for military intervention in Syria were growing. "I have opposed war, but those who want things to be settled through dialogue are a minority and perhaps the majority are in favour of going ahead in the context of war," he said.

However, he appeared to skirt the question of whether Tehran supplies arms to Syria. "Let's assume that we supplied the Syrian side with weapons, would the problems be resolved? Is the regime going to sit there forever?" he said.