As talks between the Syrian regime and rebels continue in Switzerland, the "Iranian Question" isn't going away. Though Tehran, which is a key supporter of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, was barred from attending the Geneva 2 talks for refusing several pre-conditions, it has made its voice heard from back home.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister who is still a key adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Western powers were disrespecting Syrian sovereignty by forcing its government to talk with "supporters of terrorism, subordinates of foreign powers and extremists," referring to rebel representatives, the reformist daily Arman reported on Monday. "We think the Syrians should decide their own fate, and this should not be done by foreign states and parties that interfere in Syria's internal affairs without legal justification."
Another conservative politician Mohammad Nabi Habibi was even more direct, saying certain participants in talks in Geneva had "stained their hands with the blood of Syrians," the daily Kar va Kargar reported.
Habibi, who heads the conservative Islamic Coalition Party, said the United States' "bluff on a military option is ridiculous," as the Americans had already tasted "heavy defeat" with their interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.