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Political change cannot be imposed by outsiders on Syria, where the crisis has a political solution and not a military one, he said. The U.N. estimates that more than 20,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising, which erupted in March of last year.

Some Arab nations have been arming the Syrian opposition, while the U.S. has provided non-lethal assistance.
Further militarization of the conflict will have “serious ripple effects in our region,” Mr. Salehi said, adding that Iran will maximize its efforts to find a political solution.

The closest the Iranian official would get to criticizing the Assad regime was when he said: “We wish they had taken a better position vis-a-vis their people… there were some mistakes committed, but this does not justify interference from outside.”

Mr. Salehi defended Iran’s support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, saying it was incumbent upon Iranians to stand up for those who are oppressed.