Iran's Zarif: Syrian Government not behind Alleged Chemical Attacks in Damascus Countryside

TEHRAN- Iran has dismissed claims accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against armed groups' positions in the countryside of Damascus.

"If the use of chemical weapons is true, it has definitely been carried out by terrorist and Takfiri groups, because they have proved in action that they don't hesitate in committing crimes,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said in a late Wednesday phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Zarif also argued that Damascus could not be behind the alleged attack as the Syrian Army has upper hand in the battle against foreign-backed armed groups and the UN inspectors are present in Syria.

"This criminal act has been carried out by terrorist groups because their interests lie in intensifying the crisis in Syria,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also stressed Tehran’s strong condemnation of any use of chemical weapons.

Some Arab and international media outlets which are part in shedding the Syrian blood have launched an anti-Syria campaign alleging that the Syrian Arab Army had used chemical weapons against armed groups in al-Ghouta area of Damascus Countryside. 

But the Syrian Army vehemently rejected the allegations, saying the accusations were categorically null and void and were fabricated to mislead the visiting team of the UN chemical weapons experts and to cover up terrorists' losses.

"The claims come within the framework of the media war against Syria, according to a statement by the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces. 

The head of the UN inspection mission, Ake Sellstrom, has said that the alleged attack should be investigated. The Arab League has also called on the inspectors to visit the site of the alleged chemical attack.

Meanwhile, Britain, France, the US, and Saudi Arabia have called for the UN Security Council to convene immediately to discuss the reports of the chemical attack.

In March, dozens of people were killed in a chemical attack by armed groups, in the northern province of Aleppo. A Russian-led inquiry said terrorists were behind the deadly attack.

H. Mustafa

Iranian FM Warns against Foreign Intervention in Syria

TEHRAN - Iran's new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged regional and global actors to avoid foreign intervention in crisis-hit Syria, warning that violence would spill over into the entire region otherwise, according to FNA.

"Any kind of foreign intervention in Syria would only lead to fratricide and bloodshed and increase concerns over and extremism in the entire region," the Iranian foreign minister said following a cabinet meeting here in Tehran on Wednesday.

"Resolving the Syrian issue requires a decision-making based on wider views," he continued.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

R.S

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Leader Arrested in Cairo

CAIRO,(ST) _ Interim Egyptian President Adli Mansour declared a three-day national mourning all over Egypt after the terrorist attack on the two buses carrying Egyptian soldiers near Rafah, North Sinai.

Egyptian television reported that Mansour decided the mourning to have had started on Monday , when 25 Egyptian soldiers of the Central Security Forces were killed by an armed terrorist group while returning from northern Sinai.

In a separate incident, another police officer was killed in the north Sinai town of el-Arish.

In response to the attacks, the Rafah border post into Gaza was closed and security increased at checkpoints on the peninsula.

Attacks by Islamist militants on the Egyptian security forces have surged in northern Sinai since 2011 - they have been close to daily in recent weeks.

As a result the Egyptian military recently intensified a crackdown against militants in the region.

The National Association for Change held an informal mass funeral in Tahrir Square for 25 Egyptian soldiers who were killed by a terrorist group in Sinai on Monday.

Holding an informal funeral "affirms the people's support for the army and the police in their open war against terrorists linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and to other groups that believe societies are un-Islamic".

The brutal massacre against those soldiers "is proof that the terrorist killers do not belong to the soil of this country", said Ahmed Taha al-Naqr, the association's spokesman. 

Naqr pointed to the incitement to violence and killing coming from Brotherhood leaders and these groups’ confession of involvement in terrorist operations in Sinai, Naqr said in a statement on Monday.

This massacre undoubtedly confirms that the Brotherhood and the groups in allegiance with it are waging an open war against the nation, Naqr stated.

He also noted that these groups seek political and military foreign intervention in Egypt.

They pose "a grave danger to Egyptian national security and they must be dealt with on that basis", Naqr added.

A state of emergency is in force amid wider turmoil following a crackdown on Islamists in which hundreds have died.

Thirty-six protesters died in a prison van in the capital Cairo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the ousted President Mohammed Morsi be detained for a further 15 days while they investigate fresh allegations against him.

He has reportedly been accused of complicity in acts of violence against protesters outside the presidential palace last December.

And separately, a lawyer for Hosni Mubarak has said he hopes the ousted President could be released from prison within the next two days.

Lawyer Fareed al-Dib told the BBC that Mubarak had been cleared of one corruption charge and they were waiting for the court to check whether he still had to be held in custody on other counts.

Mubarak is facing a retrial for corruption and complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising which ended in his removal from power.

More than 830 people, including 102 police and soldiers, are reported to have been killed since Wednesday, when the army cleared protest camps set up by Morsi supporters, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The European Union announced that its foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to decide whether to cut some of the billions of euros in aid pledged to Egypt.

In the US, the Obama administration has already cancelled joint military exercises planned for next month and is under pressure to cut off all aid.

EU special envoy Bernardino Leon said the ministers would consider a variety of options - including an arms embargo - but would work from the premise that a political solution to the crisis in Egypt is possible.

Egypt's foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, speaking on a trip to Sudan, said he believed the country was "on the right path", despite the current crisis.

On the other hand the Egyptian police yesterday arrested the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie in Cairo.

AFP quoted an Egyptian security source as saying that. "Security services arrested Mohamed Badie leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, accompanied by leaders of the group and six of his bodyguards and aides near Rabeya Adaweya area."

The source added that "Badie  and his companions were taken to a security apparatus in preparation for interrogation," stressing that he deported to Tora prison."

 

T. Fateh

Iran: Gaza Changed to Biggest Prison in World by Zionist entity Siege

TEHRAN - A member of the Iranian mission to the United Nations asked for international pressures on the Zionist regime to bring the 6-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip to an end, cautioning that "Israel " has turned Gaza into the biggest prison in the world.

"The Zionist regime attacks civilians with different types of bombs and has turned Gaza into the biggest prison in the world by surrounding the 1.5 million population of Gaza," Seyed Mohammad Ali Mottaqinejad said, addressing a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Tuesday.

He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran will also join the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' call for an end to the Gaza siege and the limitations caused by it, according to Press T.V.

The siege of Gaza started in June 2007 when "Israel" imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip. This was supported by the Egyptian government in Mubarak era and the US administration.

The blockade consists of a land blockade along Gaza's borders with Egypt and "Israel" and a sea blockade.

The blockade has attracted criticism from many Human Rights organizations. September 2009 UN fact-finding mission found that the blockade of Gaza "amounted to collective punishment" was likely a war crime and a crime against humanity and recommended that the matter be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC( .

M.D

Iraqi Security Forces Arrest Three Arms Smugglers to Syria

TEHRAN - Iraqi security forces arrested three terrorists as they were trying to smuggle weapons from Iraq into the Syrian territories.

Al-Mayadeen TV channel quoted a security source at the leadership of Division 12 from the Iraqi Army as saying "the three terrorists, including the leader of the so-called the free army, were arrested in an ambush set to the Southwest of Kirkuk Province after they entered the Province with the aim of smuggling weapons to Deir-Ezzor in Syria."

He pointed out that there is a Syrian-Iraqi network that works on smuggling weapons from Iraq to Syria,according to FNA.

During the last month, the Iraqi Army arrested dozens of terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda and groups associated to it during their infiltration to the Syrian territories from Iraq and vice versa and destroyed the terrorists' dens and camps, in addition to discovering hideouts of weapons and explosives in different areas on the Syrian-Iraqi borders.

R.S