Ahmad Avayi

Iranian MP Ahmad Avayi has warned against giving “absolute” support to the Syrian government, maintaining that the protests are legitimate popular movements staged by “pious people.”

Avayi told the Khabar-on-line website today: “It is true, however, that the U.S. and the West are inciting protesters and trying to take over the movement by sending them arms.”

The Iranian lawmaker maintained: “The similarity of the Syrian situation with the other revolutions in the region is that there is no real freedom or proper elections in these countries, and the minority rules the majority there.”

Avayi, however, went on to distinguish the Syrian situation from the other movements in the region, saying Syria has always maintained its independence from regional and international powers. “Among the Arab countries, Syria is the one and only country that has never acquiesced to the Zionist regime and has consistently supported Hezbollah.”

The Iranian MP went on to add that “domestic reform” was the only option for the Syrian government, which should have responded much earlier to the people’s protests.

Iran has been a staunch supporter of the Beshar Assad government. Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed Iran’s support for Syria in July by distinguishing between the popular uprising in Syria and those in the other Arab countries in the region. The Supreme Leader insisted that Syria was the "first line of resistance" against the Zionist regime.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called on the Syrian government to heed the legitimate demands of the people as the best way to deliver the country from its current “crisis.”

Russia and China have also rejected Western moves to impose sanctions on Syrian officials, supporting internal reforms in Syria rather than the removal of the Beshar Assad government.

According to UN reports, 2,200 people have been killed so far in the crackdown on protesters. The Syrian government insists that its crackdown only affects “armed rioters supported by foreign conspirators.”