This week the Iran regime’s foreign minister Javad Zarif publicly went ahead to ‘express [his] condolences’ on the death or so called ‘martyrdom’ of the Hezbollah militia terrorist group commander Mustafa Badreddine. Badreddine was killed in last Friday’s militia assaults against Syrian rebels near Damascus.
Following this, Mr. Zarif has arrived by invitation of the High Negotiations Council (HNC) delegation (Tuesday 17th May 2016) to participate in today’s International Syrian Support Group (#ISSG) peace talks in Austria.
Ahead of the meeting the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) ‘condemned’ the move in a statement. They are concerned about the militia presence in Syria and allegations of genocide.
Fadel Abdul Ghany, the head and founder of SNHR, commented on the regime’s invitation to attend the Vienna peace talks late on Tuesday.
Mr. Ghany from the SNHR told The Media Express news agency via Skype that
to invite the Iranian foreign minister to the Vienna talks ‘is totally unacceptable.’
He also sated that ‘[the regime] can play a double agenda, on one hand killing and [being] involved in crimes against humanity. Then playing such things as a political issue in negotiations. ’
He added that ‘the Iranian militia committed a crime by killing the Syrians’, and that ‘If we want to solve the Syria crisis we think [peace negotiations] is not the way to solve such kind of complicated crisis.’
‘We know the only way to solve this crisis is to remove this [Iranian] regime, who we know committed those crimes, and who caused these problems in Syria and the region.’
Alongside this the The Media Express news agency has spoken to a senior official from Syria's main opposition group. Mr. al-Zoubi, also head of the High Negotiations Council delegation to the peace talks, who commented:
On corruption in Iranian-backed militias flighting in Syria, Mr. al-Zoubi said ‘they have no nationalistic affiliation’ but ‘[they] massacre in return for money [from the regime].’
‘It is only important to kill and commit atrocities. They do not care who they are killing.’ The head of the HNC added that ‘this is [also] the nature of the Iranian regime and those it has trained.’
Answering about the question of genocide Mr. al-Zoubi made a moderate reply, stating that ‘there are many good people in Iran who are democrats and reject all types of terrorism.’
Although he did speak plainly of systematic and dire problems in the ‘circle of the mullahs’ regime’ adding that ‘[they] work incessantly to sow sedition and terrorism in order to create horror and famine.’
Commenting on the regime’s proclamations to be Islamic, Mr. al-Zoubi said ‘the mullahs are implementing barbaric policies’. Noting this as ‘atrocities abroad’, and also its destabilizing affect in the region by ‘depriving people of freedom, bread and air to breathe.’
Protesting Mr. Zarif’s invitation to participate, the Friends of Syria and the Syrian opposition headed by Mr. George Sabra refused to join the working group.
As a side-note, the three imperatives agreed by the 17-nation International Syria Support Group (#ISSG) are Ensuring Humanitarian Access, Achieving a Nationwide Cessation of Hostilities, and Advancing a Political Transition.
In Mr. al-Zoubi’s mind ‘when we are talking about [negotiating] with Iran, we are talking about a regime that is on the frontiers or terrorism and is deeply engulfed in crime, murder and massacre.’
During the peace talks we may see US Secretary of State Kerry seated between the Russian and UN Council delegates, impressing the unsettling take of these peace talks.
But foreign minister Javad Zarif invitation is one step too far for Human Rights’ groups, especially Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
A social media twitter hashtag campaign #ISSG highlights the atrocities caused in Syria by the Iranian regime. And during a peaceful demonstration in Vienna people lifted banners in remembrance of the slaughter of Camp Liberty residents by Iranian-backed mercenaries in October 2015, also pointing to domestic human right’s violations; the hanging of [at least 66 women and] 2300 men since 2013, the year since which foreign minister Mr. Zarif has been serving in the office of the President Rouhani.