0547 GMT November 27, 2020
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized attempts by some countries to undermine the process of the political settlement of Syrian crisis in recent years.
During a meeting with visiting United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen in Tehran on Sunday, the top Iranian diplomat said, “Over the past years, there have been good opportunities to put an end to the crisis in Syria, but each time we faced efforts by certain countries to ruin the chances.”
The Iranian foreign minister also underlined the necessity of removal of the “cruel” sanctions imposed on the Arab country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Syria.
The United States has imposed a round of sanctions against Syria known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.
The sanctions came into effect on June 17, targeting individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that operate directly or indirectly within the sphere of Syria's economy. The US economic measures have blocked imports of essential goods, impacting the Syrian people’s access to medical equipment, food, fuel, natural gas, and electricity.
The European Union has also imposed sanctions on eight ministers recently appointed to the Syrian government.
During the Sunday meeting, the UN envoy underscored Iran’s cooperation with the United Nations since the outbreak of the crisis in 2011.
Pedersen said Tehran plays an important role in a peaceful settlement of turmoil in Syria.
On Saturday, the UN official held separate talks with Iranian Foreign Minister’s Senior Assistant on Special Political Affairs Ali-Asghar Khaji.
During the meeting, the Iranian official said that Syria’s humanitarian issues have been taken hostage by Western countries for their political purposes.
Referring to Western countries’ efforts to prevent holding an international conference on Syrian refugees recently held in the Arab country’s capital, Khaji said that the countries which have always claimed that are advocates of humanitarian issues, have been taken hostage the Syria’s humanitarian issues for their political purposes.
He criticized Western countries for their refusal to attend the two-day International Conference on the Return of Syrian Refugees which was held from Nov. 11-12 in Damascus.
On November 10, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced that the EU representatives would not take part in the conference.
Since the beginning of a foreign-backed war in the country in 2011, some 5.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee abroad as refugees, mostly to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.