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If you have no shame, be an Iranian official! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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At a time when Syrian President [Bashar al-Assad] described some of the victims of state violence against demonstrations in Syria as martyrs, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman came out to say that what is happening in Syria is a Western conspiracy!

In a press conference, Iranian spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the protests in Syria are taking place within the framework of a western conspiracy to destabilize a government which supports “the resistance” in the Middle East. He said that “what is happening in Syria is a mischievous act of Westerners, particularly Americans and Zionists” adding that the conspirators “want to avenge some countries like Iran and Syria, which support the resistance, by facilitating small [opposition] groups.” Worse still, the Iranian spokesman said that the conspirators are trying, with the aid of the western media, to “tell the world that these people [the demonstrators] are the majority of the society, and this is the biggest lie and distortion.” Can you believe this audacity?

The Iranian official said that the Syrians’ demands were nothing more than foreign treachery; however everyone knows that the demands of the Syrian people are genuine, in a state with the longest-running repressive emergency law in the Middle East. The state lacks all kinds of freedoms, and even the Syrian president himself is considering reform, so why would he talk about reform if these were the demands of foreign agents? Why would the government decide to increase salaries, and why would the president grant the status of martyrdom to the protest victims – which is a remarkable story in itself in a secular state – if the protestors were foreign agents?

The other issue is that Iran falsely claimed that the protestors in Syria are a small group. Is this conceivable considering that demonstrations have taken place in seven cities in Syria over the past three weeks, with the death toll standing at over two hundred? The demonstrations have reached the mosques, and the University of Damascus, and so is it conceivable to believe that the demonstrators themselves are only a small group, a minority? Although the Sunnis are the overwhelming majority in Syria, there is no sectarian undercurrent, but rather the demonstrations consist of most components of Syrian society. The demonstrations have even spread to rural areas, specifically Deraa, a key ally in the balance of power in Syria. Thus the Iranian assessment is certainly incorrect.

As for the Iranian spokesman’s talk of resistance, this is ironic, for it appears that Tehran and its allies did not pay attention after the Arab citizens grew tired of such fake slogans and lies. All demands in the Arab world today are national and internal, so where is this resistance that the Iranians talk about? Syria has not even killed so much as a pigeon in its resistance battle over the past three decades. It did not even react to Israeli attacks on its territory; instead it always reserves the right to respond, without actually responding. [As for resistance elsewhere] Hezbollah has now rounded on the Lebanese, specifically the Sunnis of Beirut, and terrorized all other factions, and Hassan Nasrallah is now unofficially responsible for appointing the Sunni Prime Minister! Even Hamas has begun to suppress demonstrations held against it in Gaza, although the media has not focused on this as it has been preoccupied with the open theater that is the Arab world. As for Iran itself, we have not seen them support the resistance, there have been no shots fired in defense of Arab blood, and we all remember that [Grand Ayatollah] Khamenei forbade the Iranians from going to Gaza during the last war!

Thus we are right to say if you have no shame, become an Iranian official!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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