Egypt’s new president delineated the Syrian regime as “domineering” and called for it to transmit power to a democratic system during a visit to Syria’s key regional friend Iran on Thursday.
In a clear rebuke to Syria’s key friend Iran, Egypt’s new president told on Thursday that Bashar Assad’s “domineering” regime has lost its authenticity and stated an international conference in Tehran that the world must stand behind the Syrian confrontation.
The rallying call by Mohammed Morsi — doing the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian leader since the 1979 revolution — displayed the huge divide between Iran’s stalwart support of Assad and the growing network of regional powers pushing for his downfall.
It also drove home the difficulties for Iran as host of a gathering of the 120-nation Nonaligned Movement, a Cold War-era group that Tehran tries to transform into a powerful bloc to challenge Western influence.
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Iran’s leaders tell the weeklong assembling, which wraps up Friday, shows the inability of the West’s attempt to isolate the country over its nuclear program. But Iran has been forced to endure stinging criticism from its most high-level participant as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited concerns about Iran’s human rights record and said Iran’s condemnations of Israel were unacceptable.
Morsi’s address to the accumulating further pushed Iran into a corner. Effectively, he asked Iran to join the growing anti-Assad consensus or risk being further estranged from Egypt and other regional heavyweights such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Morsi has advised that Iran participate in a four-nation contact group that would include Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the Syrian crisis. The United Nations chief Ban also told Iran has a key role to act in ascertaining a solution to end Syria’s civil war, which activists tell has arrogated at least 20,000 lives.
But Iran has given no signals of breaking ties with Assad, and the Syrian confrontation fighting the regime tell they reject Iran’s participation in any peace efforts.