Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif warned Saudi Arabia on Tuesday not to deploy troops in Syria, saying it would violate international law, while also demanding that Riyadh stop bombardments in Yemen.
Zarif, whose country supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, was questioned about Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it could deploy ground forces as part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
“Those who are operating in Syria without the authority of the sovereign government in Syria are violating international law,” he told a news conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Speaking later after a meeting with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders, Zarif added: “We believe that’s dangerous… I believe everybody should put forces together to find a peaceful solution, not to create more danger and more hostility in the region.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said after talks in Washington earlier this month that any operation would be U.S.-led but that Saudi Arabia would play a leading role.
Iran, which has sent thousands of “military advisers” into Syria, also supports the Damascus regime via Lebanon’s Hizbullah group and above all Iraqi Shiite militias.
Zarif told the European Parliament that Tehran does not have troops in Syria,
“Iran does not have boots on the ground in Syria .. we have military advisers in Syria, as we have them in other places on the invitation” of the government, he said.