and reaching the climax of history.”
– Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 12, 2006
(Reuters) – Iran would take action if the United States were to carry out an act of “stupidity” and attack Syria, an Iranian military official was quoted as saying on Saturday, but the comments later disappeared from the state-linked agency website.
Iran has steadfastly supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his bid to suppress an uprising which both Tehran and Damascus see as a proxy war by Israel and Western states to extend their influence in the Middle East.
“If America were to attack Syria, Iran along with Syria’s allies will take action, which would amount to a fiasco for America,” Mohammad Ali Assoudi, the deputy for culture and propaganda of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was quoted as saying.
Assoudi’s comments were first carried by the government-linked news agency Young Journalists’ Club but were later apparently taken down from the group’s website. The comments were picked up by Iranian news sites including Iran’s Jam-e Jam newspaper and the BBC’s Persian-language site.
Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Assoudi did not specify exactly what steps Iran would take, but said Syria’s allies would implement their joint military pact in the case of a U.S. attack.
“In the case of American stupidity and a military attack by this country on Syria, the joint military pact of Syria’s allies would be implemented,” Assoudi said.
Iran and Syria signed a mutual defense pact in 2006, but little is known of its details, or whether there are any other signatories.
The Islamic Republic considers Assad’s government, along with Lebanese Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah, part of an “axis of resistance” against the influence of the United States and Israel in the Middle East.
But while Turkey, Gulf Arab countries and Western states admit to giving non-weapons aid to the Syrian rebels, there is little or no appetite in Washington, especially in an election year, for direct military intervention in Syria. Without U.S. leadership, its allies also appear unwilling to go it alone.
Iran accuses Western powers and regional states of supporting and arming the rebels, while the rebels accuse Iran of sending IRGC fighters to help Assad crush the uprising.
“With cooperation from Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, America has the goal of striking a blow against Syria and making preparations for the fall of the Syrian government,” Assoudi said.
But, while the West only talks, the “Axis of Evil” continues to steadily strengthen.
In a last move Iran and North Korea have signed an agreement to collaborate in the fields of “science and technology [read ‘nuclear‘], showing that nearly a decade of US efforts to isolate the two states internationally might have actually pushed them closer together.
Iranian state television said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s nominal head of state [read ‘tyrant‘] Kim Yong Nam were both present in Tehran for the signing of the agreement on Saturday.
According to them, the two states will cooperate in biotechnology, engineering, renewable energy, sustainable development, research, joint laboratories and the environment, and facilitate more student exchanges, Reuters cites Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) as saying.
On the same day, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi called for the strengthening of economic ties between the two states, the agency cites Iranian state TV as reporting.
North’s Korea’s No. 2 was in Tehran along with 119 other world leaders [mostly dictators and tyrants] for the 16th Summit of the euphemistically called “Non-Aligned Movement”. The summit, whose agenda included nuclear disarmament, “human rights” [imaging that!] and the Syrian conflict, is one of the few multilateral forums in which Pyongyang participates. It had previously been speculated that North Korea’s “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un would be in attendance.
Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Kim Yong Nam and was quick to underscore the force underpinning growing collaboration between the two tyranical-terrorist states.
The ILNA quoted Khamenei as saying:
“The Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea have common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states”
Khamenei’s harsh rebuke was most almost certainly targeted at the United States, which vilified the two states as being part of an “Axis of Evil” (along with Iraq) in 2002 despite the lack of any overt ties between the three states.
Iranian and North Korean officials have previously characterized their countries as being in “one trench” in the fight against the United States, Israel and the West. Western powers have accused them, meanwhile, of being close partners in nuclear and missile technologies.
In April, an Iranian delegation comprising more than 10 ballistic missile engineers reportedly traveled to North Korea to observe Pyongyang’s failed attempt to send a long-range rocket into space, Kyodo News reported. The failed launch sparked widespread condemnation in the West.
The Japanese news agency said the two countries pledged to deepen cooperation on bilateral “strategic projects” later in July, which analysts argue could include efforts to develop high-altitude missile and nuclear development.
The United States has regularly accused Tehran and Pyongyang of being state sponsors of terrorism, though the US removed North Korea from the lists of states involved in terrorist activity in 2008.
Both states have also incited Western ire for their nuclear weapons programs, both alleged and proven. North Korea for its part withdrew from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 2003, with Pyongyang publicly announcing two years later it had developed nuclear weapons. A foreign ministry statement at the time read:
“We had already taken the resolute action of pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and have manufactured nuclear arms for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration’s evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the DPRK.”
Iran remains a party to the NPT, and has denied any attempts to actively acquire or develop a nuclear weapon, insisting that its uranium enrichment program is for civilian purposes only, a view shared by the majority of experts around the world. However, repeated charges that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has fallen short of the country’s NPT obligations have made Iran the target of an increasingly harsh sanctions regime, and a potential strike by neighbor Israel.