Tehran/Damascus/Beirut, 21 July 2014 – The decision on Sunday to extend nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers is effectively granting the Iranian regime a free license to carry on with its murderous adventures in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, the campaign group Naame Shaam said today.
Talks held in Vienna between 2 and 20 July 2014 have failed, once again, to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and international sanctions against Iran. The delegates agreed to extend the negotiations for another four months, to be resumed in early September and conclude by late November 2014.
Naame Shaam spokesperson Peyman Kaamvar said: “While playing time games with these endless negotiations, the Iranian regime has also been playing all its regional cards, one after the other, to pressure Western powers into a favourable deal. Ordering the military wing of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip to fire missiles on Israel, and ordering Hezbollah Lebanon to fire a few ‘warning missiles’ from southern Lebanon into Israel, were only the latest episode in this ‘cold’ war between the Iranian regime and the West.”
“Western powers, particularly the US, think they are ‘slowly bleeding’ the Iranian regime,” Kaamvar added. “This has been their policy in Syria, where the Iranian regime is providing massive military and economic support to the Assad regime; in Lebanon, where it has been funding and arming Hezbollah Lebanon; in Iraq, where it is backing Maliki’s government and Shia militias against Sunni rebels; and now in Gaza, where it is arming and directing Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”
“But all this ‘slow bleeding’ comes at the expense of ordinary Iranians, who are suffering increasing economic hardship and repression, and mounting death tolls, destruction and extremism in Syria, Iraq and Palestine, as well as instability in Lebanon and the wider region.”
Ali Rahimi, another Naame Shaame spokesperson, said: “When nuclear talks resume in September, the Western nations among the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France and Germany) must tell the Iranian regime that there will be no lifting of economic sanctions if it does not guarantee basic human rights in Iran and if it does not pull its Sepah Pasdaran (Iranian Revolutionary Guards), Hezbollah Lebanon and the Iraqi militias out of Syria. They must demand that the Iranian regime ends all its financial and military support to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and ends its interference in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.”
“If they do not do so,” Rahimi added, “they would be wasting the only realistic chance to end the bloodshed in Syria and Iraq and to stabilise Lebanon.”
The main reason behind the Iranian regime’s heavy involvement in the wars in Syria and Iraq is to keep arms and missiles flowing to Hezbollah Lebanon and Hamas, so as to keep the them a strong deterrent against Israel and the West in case of an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“The Iranian regime must see clear red lines to seriously consider ending its interference in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine or face further international isolation and tougher economic sanctions,” Rahimi said. “Democratic countries like the US, the UK, France and Germany cannot overlook the suffering of millions of Iranians, Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and Palestinians for the sake of minor, temporary concessions from the Iranian regime. That is simply unacceptable.”
For further questions:
Please contact Naame Shaam’s spokesperson Hossein Amir at
Email: [email protected]
Note for editors: Naame Shaam (نامه شام), or “Letters from Syria”, is a group of Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese activists and citizen-journalists who work to raise awareness about the Iranian regime’s policies and involvement in Syria and to influence the public narrative about the Syrian revolution. For more information, see our website at http://www.naameshaam.org.  For more details about the outcome of this latest round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers, see for example:
Various Iranian and Hezbollah officials have stated that Bashar al-Assad’s regime would not survive long without the massive military and economic support it is receiving from the Iranian regime. All major battles in Syria are now being fought by Sepah Pasdaran and Hezbollah, rather than the Assad forces. Many checkpoints in Damascus are manned by Iraqi militias, and Sepah Pasdaran commanders have admitted being in charge of all major military operations against the Syrian rebels.
It is estimated that billions of Iranian Tomans, from the Iranian public purse, are being spent every month to keep al-Assad in power. The Iranian regime has been financing a big part of the economy in regime-controlled areas, pumping billions of dollars into the Syrian Central Bank so that the regime can pay salaries and import food and other goods for its supporters. The Syrian Pound would have long collapsed if it wasn’t for this financial support.
The Iranian regime has also been paying all the bills for the Russian arms shipped to al-Assad’s forces, as well as funding all the military operations of Sepah Pasdaran, Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias fighting in Syria.
The de facto ruler of regime-held areas in Syria is Gen. Soleimani, the chief of Sepah Qods, which is a division of Sepah Pasdaran (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) responsible for foreign operations. Sepah Qods fully controls the armed forces of the Assad regime, as well as its policies and economy. Al-Assad has been dubbed as Gen Soleimani’s ‘deputy’.
Meanwhile, more and more ordinary Iranians are suffering economic hardship. Poverty and deprivation are on the rise in Iran. Naame Sham believes that Iran is bleeding in Syria, and that Syria has become Iran’s Vietnam.
For more details about Iran’s role in Syria, see:
To raise awareness about Iran’s role in Syria, Naame Shaam activists held a peaceful protest on 8 April 2014 outside a hotel in Berlin where the Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade, along with other Iranian officials, were attending a conference with German business representatives. For more details, see: http://www.naameshaam.org/en/activists-protest-irans-involvement-in-syria-as-iranian-minister-attends-business-conference-in-berlin/
On 3 May 2014, Naame Shaam activists staged another peaceful protest at a conference center in Vienna, where the European Union’s foreign policy chief and the Iranian foreign minister were discussing Iran’s nuclear programme. For more details see:
On 7 July 2014, Naame Shaam sent an open letter to the foreign ministers of the US, the UK, France and Germany asking them to link the nuclear talks with Iran’s role in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. The full text of the letter can be found at: