Iran leader Khamenei condemns attacks as allies offer support
AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, Iran’s supreme leader, has denounced Theresa May, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron as “criminals” after the UK, the US and France launched missile strikes in Syria.
The attack against three regime facilities believed to be linked to the chemical atrocity in Douma last week drew condemnation from Syria’s allies, but support from its regional rivals and from Western countries.
Tehran argued the British, US and French action would lead to more destruction and suggested it could ramp up its support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the bloody conflict.
“They will not benefit as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits,” Mr Khamenei said.
China, a UN security council member that abstained from a vote on a US resolution to investigate the Syria chemical attack last week, offered a carefully worded criticism of the “use of force” against the regime.
Its foreign ministry said unilateral military action bypassing the security council would “add new complicating factors to the resolution of the Syrian issue”. Despite its calls for a political solution, China has vetoed initiatives ves to solve the conflict, including war crimes investigations.
Israel and Turkey, which have in the past made their own armed interventions into the Syria conflict, both hailed the strikes as a necessary response to chemical weapons use.
“Syria continues to carry out murderous actions and be a base for these actions and others, including Iran’s, that put its territory, forces and leadership in peril,” an Israeli official said, speaking anonymously according to protocol.
Israel has issued several stern warnings recently about Iran’s increased involvement along its border in Syria in Lebanon. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president, said the strikes had shown the Syrian regime that “its mounting attacks in recent days against dissidents ... will not be left unanswered”.
Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East, accused the Assad regime of “crimes” crim and said it “fully supports the strik strikes” in response. Saudi Arabia and oth other Gulf states have been key backers of Syrian opposition groups. In Bru Brussels, Donald Tusk, the European Co Council president, tweeted that the bom bombings “make it clear that Syrian regime t together with Russia & Iran cannot cont continue this human tragedy” and the EU would stand with the UK, US and Fr France “on the side of justice”. “Th “The EU is supportive of all efforts aimed at the prevention of the use of chem chemical weapons,” said Federica Moghe Mogherini, the foreign affairs chief. She cal called on Russia and Iran to “use their influence to prevent any fur- ther use of chemical weapons, notably by the Syrian regime”.
Boris Johnson will meet with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg tomorrow at a meeting to dominated by the strikes on Syria. Ministers are expected to back language condemning the use of chemical weapons in the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who on Thursday had ruled out joining any military action against Syria, commended the strikes as “necessary and appropriate”.
While Canada declined to participate in the strikes, Justin Trudeau, its prime minister, said it “supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people”.
Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, called on Russia and Iran to stop the Assad regime’s “abuse of international law and human rights”.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the UK, US and France as ‘criminals’ for airstrikes