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News number: 9101141357

14:01 | 2012-04-11

Foriegn Policy

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Iran Sees Impartiality Condition for Continued Support for Annan's Plan

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran on Wednesday renewed support for the peace initiative offered by the UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria, but meantime cautioned that it will continue its support only as long as Annan remains impartial in dealing with the Syrian issues and gives a chance to the Syrian government to carry out changes.

Speaking after a meeting with Annan in Tehran on Wednesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran is glad to see that Annan's plan does not call for a regime change in Syria, "and rather asks for dialogue between the parties and enough time for doing changes".

"We told Annan that we would support his plans as along as he acts in this way, and we hope to witness the settlement of the problem in Syria in the near future through his endeavors," Salehi continued.

The Iranian minister further asked different sides to give a chance to the reform plans started by Damascus, and added, "The necessary chance should be given to the Syrian government so that changes be naturally implemented inside Syria and by the Syrian government and under Bashar al-Assad's leadership."

As part of a six-point peace initiative, the UN plans to deploy 200-250 unarmed observers. The plan also called on Syrian armed forces to withdraw from protest centers on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting set for 48 hours later. It also called on armed groups to follow the government's lead.

Just hours before the end-of-day deadline for Syria to implement the ceasefire plan, Annan said Syrian forces had withdrawn from a number of areas.

On Tuesday, Syria's foreign minister said at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart in Moscow that Damascus wanted guarantees from Annan that armed groups attacking its troops would commit to a ceasefire.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem said Damascus has already withdrawn its troops from several Syrian cities.

"We have already withdrawn forces and army units from several Syrian provinces,'' Mualem stated.

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

In October 2011, calm was restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.

This is while Assad has done a lot in recent months to reform laws and conditions in his country. The Syrian president announced the end to the state of emergency, granted citizenship to many Syrian Kurds and promised parliamentary elections later this year. In January, he issued the latest of thousands of amnesties for those detained since the uprising began.

Syria also in February held a referendum on the country's new constitution. More than 14 million Syrians over 18 could vote and almost 90 percent of the voters approved a new constitution in the referendum.

Under the new charter, freedom is 'a sacred right' and 'the people will govern the people' in a multi-party democratic system based on Islamic law.

The document allows multiple political parties to compete in elections for the legislature, sets a limit of two seven-year terms on the president, and eliminates a clause that guarantees political supremacy to Assad's Ba'ath Party.