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Iran Calls for Hand Cutting for Arab Nations ‘Meddling’ in Syria

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Iran sees Arab nations ‘meddling’’ in Syria in order to replace President Bashar al-Assad with a government that is “submissive” to Israel, according to an adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Syria is Iran’s most important ally in the region, providing a transit route for arms going to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. The U.S. and European nations have said that Iran is aiding Assad’s crackdown even as Arab nations step up their criticism of the regime’s attacks on protesters.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iran’s top human rights official, said he was “quite aware” of the shift by the 22-nation Arab League against the Assad regime. Its criticism of Syria doesn’t stem from a concern for human-rights violations, given that a “good number” of those governments are guilty of similar abuses, he said.

‘The issue is that they want to generate a government which is submissive to Israel,’’ he told reporters in New York.

“These are very dangerous events; we are against this kind of meddling in the situation,” he said. “Our position is that all the hands should be cut off from this kind of interference.”

Larijani, senior adviser to the head of the judiciary and secretary general of the Iran High Council for Human Rights, said Iran is “against any external pressure, especially military and agitation and incitement to violence” in any countries being swept up by the “fantastic” Arab Spring.

He declined to say whether Iran would provide Assad with political asylum should the Syrian leader be forced from power.

The Arab League’s representatives gathered today in Rabat, Morocco, to discuss possible measures to influence Assad amid signs of mounting international pressure, including calls for him to quit. The group suspended Syria’s membership Nov. 12 as the regime continued its assaults after agreeing 10 days before to the league’s plan for ending the bloodshed.

-- Editors: Terry Atlas, Bob Drummond

To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United Nations at fjackson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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