US Official: Consensus Over Iran Regime in Syria
By Staff Writer
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary and Special Envoy for Syria said there is a consensus between the US, the EU and the Arab World about the need to pressure the Iranian Regime to stop using war torn Syria to threaten neighbouring countries.
Joel Rayburn, who was speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, said: “The Iranian regime is absolutely isolated on this question, that idea that the Iranian regime would use Syria in order to establish power projection platforms that it can use to threaten Syria’s neighbours in an unprecedentedly destabilizing way.”
He added: “This is something the entire international community rejects. It is something that the US, the European Union countries and the Arab world are all in agreement about using the tool at our disposals, such as economic and political pressure tools and political isolation to try to push back on.”
Iran has been propping up the Bashar Assad dictatorship in Syria since 2011, using mostly armed militia groups made up of refugees to crush Assad’s people. Rayburn said that documentary evidence and photos of the reported crimes committed by the Assad regime in Syrian prisons, smuggled out of the country by a Syrian defector in 2013, were reminiscent of the Nazi death camps.
Rayburn advised that UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria, is the US’s roadmap for a peaceful end to the crisis.
The day before, Rayburn spoke at a discussion on the “Reconciliation and Reconstruction” efforts in Syria and Iraq following the defeat of ISIS and admitted that the destruction of the physical caliphate was not the “end of the story with respect to Daesh (ISIS)”.
He said that ISIS could not be defeated in Syria or Iraq until the Iranian Regime was forced out of both countries.
He said: “Their very presence gives Daesh breathing room… it gives Daesh a political cause. So they must go. Their presence is a destabilising factor, they perpetuate the civil war so it is harder to get a political settlement, they write the Assad regime a blank cheque, making it easier for him to stay away from a political solution”.
He said that US priorities on Syria haven’t changed and that their objectives are:
• an enduring defeat of Daesh [ISIS] and other terrorist groups
• a withdrawal from all of Syria of all Iranian commanded forces
• the support of a political settlement of the conflict under United Nations security council resolution 2254