In a new blow to the Syrian dictatorship, Iran’s ambassador to Damascus has informed his Syrian hosts of his plans to leave the country as criticism of the regime’s use of brute force against protesters grows.
According to Kaleme, a website close to Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, Ahmad Mousavi, has informed the country’s officials that he intends to leave the country at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The move will undoubtedly be interpreted by many as yet another sign that the days of another Middle Eastern dictatorship are numbered.
Citing an unnamed Iranian diplomat, Kaleme said Iranian Embassy personnel in Damascus were preparing to leave the country in case the Syrian regime collapses.
Since the eruption of the five-month anti-regime demonstrations in Syria, the Iranian regime has been providing full backing for the Syrian dictator in his attempts to crush dissenters.
According to the report, in a meeting with Syrian officials, Ahmad Mousavi attempted to explain that he was planning to leave the country for a possible promotion or to stand as a candidate representing the city of Ahvaz in Iran’s forthcoming parliamentary elections. Syrian authorities reacted distraughtly to the news, and in the end Mousavi agreed to stay in Syria until the end of Ramadan.
“Staff at the Iranian embassy in Syria have evacuated their houses fearing the downfall of Assad’s government and its consequences, they’ve either sent their families to Iran or have moved to the border region with Lebanon so that in the event that Bashar Assad’s regime collapses, they can leave Syria,” the diplomat told pro-Green Movement website.
“Unfortunately, as a result of Iran’s support for the Syrian government’s crackdown on the population, people have a deep sense of discontent towards Iranians, to the point that there’s been a significant drop in the number of [religious] pilgrims [to Syria], and some Iranian citizens linked with the embassy and the Iranian government have limited their movements, left Syria or are preparing to leave Syria in fear of retaliatory measures from the Syrian people.”
The diplomat criticised the reaction of Iranian officials to the unrest in Syrian, adding, “They claim that the events in the Arab countries are a form of Islamic awakening, [while they claim] that events in Syria are the outcome of an American conspiracy. This is despite the fact that the most Islamic forms of protests have occurred in Syria.”
He also stressed that Iran’s support for Assad’s autocratic rule had severely tarnished its reputation in the eyes of ordinary Syrians.
“Bashar Assad will either fall, or become pro-western, and in both cases, it will be to the detriment of Iran.”
On Monday, Syrian forces intensified their campaign of terror against Syrian civilians with the navy shelling residential districts in Latakia, the third day of an assaults on the ancient port city. Across the country military forces loyal to Assad, tanks and armoured vehicles were deployed around dissident neighbourhoods and essential services were cut before raids and arrests, and bombardment.
Already, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors from Syria following the brutal crackdowns and international condemnation of the assaults by Syrian security forces is mounting steadily.
The German government on Monday called for further European Union sanctions on Syria and urged the UN Security Council to discuss the government crackdowns again this week.
Activists and leaders in Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement have also condemned the atrocities committed by Assad’s security forces. Less than ten days ago, the Coordinating Council of the Green Path of Hope, the Green Movement’s highest decision-making body, issued a statement in solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Syria, while calling on Iranian authorities to cease their support for the Assad regime’s deadly suppression of dissenters.
“The Greens of Iran are profoundly saddened by what is being inflicted upon you these days. We remember you in every moment of this blessed month [of Ramadhan], and are certain that for as long as you fight in the path of righteousness, the Lord will be your helper, and victory awaits you and other free peoples across the world,” the statement said.