Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has appointed Mohammadreza Raouf Sheybani as the country’s new ambassador to Syria.
Iranian media report that the former deputy at the Foreign Ministry’s Islamic Republic Middle East department will replace Ahmad Mousavi in Damascus.
Last week, the Kaleme opposition website reported that Mousavi is planning to leave Syria. Kaleme added that this decision came on the heels of the growing popular protests against Beshar Assad and his government. Syrian authorities were very critical of the ambassador’s decision.
Kaleme writes: “Ahmad Mousavi has made excuses, such as raising the possibility that he may run in Iran’s parliamentary election, to explain his sudden departure from Damascus.”
The report adds that his departure confirms that the political situation in Syria is critical.
Another unidentified diplomat in Syria was quoted as saying that Iranian embassy staff have vacated their homes in Damascus and sent their families back to Iran in fear of the regime’s imminent collapse.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain had already recalled their ambassadors from Syria.
The Islamic Republic is one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian regime and has repeatedly condemned the protests as a foreign conspiracy against the legitimate rule of Beshar Assad.