Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood rejects Iranian initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat-Farooq Tayfur, deputy controller general of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, has stated that his group refused an initiative proposed by Iranian envoys acting on behalf of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The delegates attempted to meet and communicate with Tayfur two months ago, through a Turkish mediator, to discuss the relationship between the two sides as well as the Syrian issue. They proposed to offer four ministerial positions or more to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, with the Brotherhood’s adherence to the sole condition that Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

Tayfur confirmed that the “Iranian initiative” was met with flat refusal, attributing this to the negative role played by Iran in confronting the Syrian people’s revolution, in addition to its financial, military and technical support for the Syrian regime.

Regarding the details of the “talks” with Iranian delegates, Tayfur said: “Initially, they requested to meet to exchange views about the future of Syria. My response was that we would not meet them until Iran changed its position with regards to the Syrian revolution, and its stand with the regime against the oppressed”. He pointed to the role played by Iran; standing by Bashar al-Assad and supporting him with funds, weapons, and technical capabilities, in turn considering the Iranians to be participants in the killing of the Syrian people. He added “regarding [the Iranian delegation’s] second [negotiation] attempt, they assured us that their sole condition was that Bashar al-Assad would remain in power, and all other issues were open to discussion. They offered us four or more ministerial positions. Our natural response to this condition was that it was a fundamental problem for us to agree to al-Assad continuing in power under any conditions, since he bears responsibility for the crimes that are taking place in Syria”.

Tayfur confirmed that a third attempt was made by the Iranian delegates, during which they said that they were “willing to amend the declared Iranian position. This was reflected in statements made by both President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei, when he said that the Syrian people were right to claim their rights. However, we did not change our position, and we assured them [the Iranians] that what we want is a radical and practical change to these statements. Then our communications ceased, which had lasted about a week up to this point”.

Despite stressing that there had previously been no significant changes in the Iranians’ behavior, Tayfur revealed that a change had occurred in the Iranian position at the final stage, and this will be announced soon. H said: “This is what the Turkish mediator told me, whom I met recently after his visit to Iran, during which he met with Iranian officials”. He added “The most important reason for this change was the urgent message send by Bashar al-Assad to Khamenei, telling him that the Syrian situation had become difficult, and asking him to find a way out of this deadlock”.

Asked whether any Turkish officials know about this “Iranian initiative”, Tayfur said: “I do not know whether they know about it, I have not spoken to any of them in this regard, but I take it that as long as they have not contacted us to meet or discuss certain conclusions, the issue is not important for them”.

Tayfur believes that Iran and Hezbollah have re-examined their position on the Syrian issue, saying: “They should side with the Syrian people, because the rulers are running out of time and it is the people who will remain in the end”. He added that “our position on Iran and Hezbollah is not a sectarian or doctrinal position, but we fear that the position these two parties have undertaken towards the Syrian people may reflect negatively upon the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites. We hope that they adjust their positions in order to heal the wounds they have caused, before a divide is entrenched between the two sides”.