June 28, 2018
A member of the Iranian parliament has harshly criticized Bashar Assad of Syria and Vladimir Putin of Russia on June 27, saying that these two leaders will “soon sacrifice us” to Israel and the U.S.
Behrouz Bonyadi in a speech before the start of the regular meeting of parliament declared, “Bashar Assad, with full impudence, has cozied up to Putin”. In these unprecedented remarks, Bonyadi added, “Russia will not be a trustworthy friend for us”.
Bonyadi is a member of parliament’s Hope faction, whose members usually support President Hassan Rouhani’s government and are called “reformists”.
He accused Russia of “betrayal” in the latest OPEC meeting and in the Caspian Sea Convention, but “being oblivious to the fact that in politics today…there are no permanent friends or enemies, we continue the same policies and abstain from a face-off with these two individuals”.
Iran and Russia have been staunch allies of Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war and prevented the fall of his regime.
Thousands of Iranian troops have been killed in the war and lately Israel has been bombing positions occupied by Iranian forces and their ally Lebanese Hezbollah.
In addition, Iran has provided billions of dollars in economic and military aid to Assad.
Bonyadi also attacked the Islamic Republic’s policy of supporting foreign groups and countries, saying that the Iran needs $60 billion dollars of investments annually. “Why we should constantly live in fear of war, sanctions and bad news”, he lamented.
In a broadside to the hardliners who often attribute the country’s problems to the “enemy”, Bonyadi said, “Which international conspiracy has destroyed our rivers, wetlands, lakes and underground water reserves. Which foreigner has deprived our people of clean air? Why harmony and accommodation with the international community is so hard for us?”
He also criticized heavy handed security measures against critics and protesters and said that increasingly many Iranians are left out of any role in the country, to the extent that every critic is labelled as an anti-regime element.
So far, there is no sign of any reactions to Bonyadi’s speech by Iran’s officials or hardliners, who are usually quick to condemn any dissent or criticism from regime insiders.
After three days of fierce protests in Tehran this week, Iranian officials, including president Rouhani blamed the country’s economic problems on the President Donald Trump’s administration, which pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal last May and is bringing back crippling sanction on Iran.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on June 27 said, “It should surprise no one that protests continue in Iran. The Iranian people are demanding their leaders share the country’s wealth and respond to their legitimate needs”.