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Rafsanjani warns US military strike on Syria could "engulf region" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (R) arrives in parliament in Tehran, accompanied by the Islamic Republic's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (L), in this August 4, 2013, file photo. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (R) arrives in parliament in Tehran, accompanied by the Islamic Republic’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (L), in this August 4, 2013, file photo. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Reports from Tehran reveal that President Rouhani updated the Expediency Council, chaired by Hashemi Rafsanjani, of the latest development on the ground in Syria and Tehran’s likely responses to an expected US military strike against the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. For his part, Hashemi Rafsanjani articulated his vision on possible turmoil in the region, saying that a US military intervention in Syria could “engulf the region.”

“It seems that the main objective of US adventurism in the region is not limited to Syria and [is intended to] engulf the entire region,” Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Rafsanjani cautioned council members that “US attack and aggression will probably not be confined to Syria and the outbreak of war in this country. . . . Their dangerous, warmongering game could engulf the entire region.”

The Expediency Council chairman acknowledged that the US is capable of starting a regional war, but added that Washington would not be in a position to control the way that war would end.

He also emphasized the “strategic significance of Syria in the region,” saying that “Damascus is the stronghold of resistance against the Zionist regime,” according to Press TV.

Hashemi Rafsanjani also warned against the use of inappropriate rhetoric on sensitive foreign policy issues by irresponsible individuals who are not officially charged with outlining Iran’s foreign policy.

This can be seen as a direct warning against some Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders or radical clerics whose positions do not permit them to comment officially on Iranian foreign policy.

Hashemi Rafsanjani said that the current crisis is intentionally being “fed by the US and its allies,” adding that Tehran must act cautiously to protect its national security.

As for his comments regarding the use of inappropriate rhetoric on sensitive foreign policy issues, these have been viewed as a gradual shift in Iranian policy regarding the need not to further inflame the situation.

On Thursday, IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad-Ali Jaafari warned against any attack on Syria, saying that this would lead to the “end for Israel.”