ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said a national dialogue leading to elections was the way towards a solution to Syria’s crisis, in remarks broadcast on Tuesday.
He told Al Jazeera television that war was not the way forward, adding: “There is another way to find a solution, it is national, mutual understanding in order for there to be elections in the future.”
The interview was translated from Persian into Arabic by Al Jazeera.
Iran is a main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been battling an uprising against his rule. Opposition activists say 30,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old revolt, which has grown into a full-scale civil war.
“Syria’s case is very complex and at the same time is a very important one,” Ahmadinejad said. “Should I follow those demanding war? I don’t think the language of war is a good language.
“There must be a different way to solve problems … I have opposed war, but those who want things to be settled through dialogue are a minority and perhaps the majority are in favour of going ahead in the context of war.”
Ahmadinejad, who made similar comments in a separate news conference in Tehran, said Iran had long had good relations with Syria. He said Tehran had built dams, roads and power stations in Syria and Iranian pilgrims were frequent visitors to the Arab country.
(Reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky in Abu Dhabi and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Editing by Sami Aboudi and Rosalind Russell)