A leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood says Iran has sought to coax the Islamist group into supporting President Bashar Assad in exchange for four high-ranking positions in the Syrian government.
According to Mohammed Farouk Tayfour, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sent three emissaries to Istanbul in late October to try to broker the deal.
“We refused to meet with them,” said Mr. Tayfour, one of nine members of the Syrian National Council’s executive committee, which is leading the opposition to the Assad regime. “We told them [through a Turkish mediator] that Iran has been taking sides against the Syrian people.
“When Iran takes the side of the Syrian people, then we are willing to meet with the envoys and talk with them,” he said at the council’s office in Istanbul on Tuesday, January 3. “Otherwise, there is no way we can meet with the Iranians when they are assisting in the killing of our people.”
Mr. Tayfour said the Turkish mediator was a personal acquaintance, not a government official, and that Ankara had no involvement in the overture.
He said the mediator reached out to him three times in one week in an attempt to set up a face-to-face meeting with the emissaries, who were then staying at an Istanbul hotel.
The Muslim Brotherhood, one of the largest and most influential Islamist groups in the Middle East, is banned in Syria, which is engaged in a months-long deadly crackdown on dissent and has long enjoyed support from Iran’s Shiite theocracy, The Washington Times reported.