Iran calls for a political solution to wars in Yemen, Syria

AP News
Posted: Nov 08, 2016 7:24 AM
Iran calls for a political solution to wars in Yemen, Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran's top diplomat called on Tuesday for a political solution to the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, saying that continued violence in the war-torn nations would only lead to more bloodshed, with no one winning the war.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's remarks came during the second day of his visit to Lebanon. On Monday, he met Lebanon's newly appointed President Michel Aoun, underscoring the ties between Iran and Aoun's Hezbollah-backed presidency.

The Shiite militant group and predominantly Shiite Iran are close allies.

Zarif said regional powers should help the Yemenis and the Syrians to reach an immediate cease-fire that would be followed by the start of a dialogue to end the catastrophes underway in both countries.

Iran is a strong backer of Yemen's Shiite rebels known as Houthis and also Syrian President Bashar Assad. Saudi Arabia — Iran's main regional rival — backs the Yemeni government fighting the Houthis and insurgents trying to remove Assad from power.

"We should admit that there is no military solution, neither for the Yemeni crisis nor for the Syrian crisis," Zarif said. "We believe that continuing to use military methods in order to win the Yemeni and Syrian crises will only lead to more fighting and bloodshed."

Zarif also met on Tuesday with outgoing Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Saudi-backed Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Earlier, Zarif met with Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

On Monday, Zarif said recent political developments in Lebanon can be the key to breaking the deadlock in wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Aoun's appointment by Lebanon's parliament broke a 29-month impasse that saw the country's two main political blocs, one backed by Saudi Arabia and the other by Iran, sabotaging 45 successive attempts to select a president.