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Iran Blames Foreigners For Syria Unrest

June 28, 2012

Iran's ambassador to the UN has blamed foreigners for the bloodshed in Syria and denied any Iranian role.

Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters in New York, Mohammad Khazaee also said Iran was ready to play a role in mediating a solution to the crisis in Syria.

"A very important fact that cannot be ignored by anybody is the influence and constructive role that the Islamic Republic of Iran has in region. So if some powers do not want to benefit from this influence and constructive role, that's their problem," Khazaee said.

His comments come after the international mediator for Syria, Kofi Annan, called a meeting on the crisis in Syria for June 30 in Geneva.

Annan said the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would attend as well as the European Union, Syria's neighbors Turkey and Iraq, and Kuwait and Qatar.

Iran was not mentioned despite a suggest by Russia to include Tehran in the talks.

Khazaee said by not inviting Iran, the West was "neglecting" Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed hope the Geneva meeting could be a "turning point" in the Syrian crisis.

Clinton said in Helsinki that a new plan by Annan, laying out a political transition in Syria, would increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

Inside Syria, gunmen attacked a pro-government television station near Damascus, killing seven employees, according to state media reports.

The White House condemned the attack, saying violence on all sides was wrong.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said some 150 people were killed in violence across Syria on June 27.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) accused both Assad's forces and the rebels for violating human rights.

The council's chief investigator Paulo Pinheiro -- who visited Damascus secretly last week -- told the watchdog that his team had found the government and its allied militias responsible for killing civilians, while opposition forces had been torturing or executing government soldiers and those suspected of supporting them.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Syrian authorities to end "indiscriminate" shootings of civilians fleeing to Jordan and other neighboring countries.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-syria-/24628316.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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