Iran, Russia, Syria said working on proposal to head off U.S. strike

Sept. 8, 2013 at 9:39 PM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Syria and its allies, Iran and Russia, are working on a proposal for a power transition that would head off a retaliatory U.S. military strike, Haaretz reports.

The Israeli newspaper said Arab and Iranian media had reported Iranian Parliamentary Committee Chairman Ala al-Din Boroujerdi and Syrian officials had discussed the proposal in recent days and that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem was expected to go over it with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet Monday.

Haaretz said details of the proposal were unknown but allegedly would call for civil war-torn Syria to embark on a democratic transfer of power in stages.

Haaretz reported Putin and al-Muallem also are expected to discuss another proposal in which Syria would transfer its chemical weapons to Russia or another country. U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking congressional approval for limited military strikes to punish the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which he says is responsible for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

Haaretz said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted last week as saying Iranian leaders "believe that the government in Syria has made grave mistakes that have, unfortunately, paved the way for the situation in the country to be abused."

Haaretz said Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan has said Tehran does not intend to send troops or arms to Syria.

The newspaper said an influential Syrian opposition figure, Professor Burhan Ghalioun, put out an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday in which he proposes that if Russia would remove Assad, his officials and family, the rebels would ask the United States not to attack Syria.

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