(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration stated bluntly on Thursday that Iran is responsible for much of the violence now occurring in Syria.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice argued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah were all destabilizing forces in the region. The three allies consider themselves “an axis of resistance” determined to thwart outside forces that include the U.S., Israel and the rest of the West.
Rice said this so-called “axis” proves “there is no question that Iran is playing a nefarious role, not only in Syria but more broadly in the region, actively supporting the Assad regime.”
At the same time, Iran was holding a summit of 29 countries in Tehran to discuss the 18-month-long conflict in Syria that has cost more than 20,000 lives by some estimates.
Taking the same stand as Russia and China, whose veto power stopped two U.N. resolutions about Syria dead in their tracks, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the various diplomats that his nation opposes “any foreign interference and military intervention in resolving the Syrian crisis.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ben Westcott, CNN
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN
Arwa Damon, Waffa Munayyer and Bryony Jones, CNN