Iran's FM: Obama put himself in a trap over Syria

Iran's foreign minister said that President Obama was reluctant to wage war against Syria over its alleged chemical weapons use.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Iranian English-language Press TV on Wednesday: "I think that a number of groups, people inside the United States, and interests outside the United States, wanted to put the president of the U.S. - whom I believe was reluctant to start the war - into a trap. A trap which he had unfortunately laid down for himself; and that was to get him involved in a war in order to address a hypothetical issue of the use of chemical weapons by the government of Syria."

On Tuesday night, the president, who had earlier pushed for a military strike against Syria, addressed the nation and said that the military option should remain an option while the U.S. and its allies work out a diplomatic solution with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Syrian government is accused of using chemical weapons in an attack on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21.

On Russia's proposal that Syria relinquishes its chemical weapons as a diplomatic solution to avoid a U.S. strike, Zarif said: "I hope with the Russian proposal and the opportunity that had been created by the acceptance by Syria of the Russian proposal, others will stop creating excuses to push for a war, to beat the drums of war."

Zarif said there was still no proof that Syria had used chemical weapons from the government. He also said Iran denounces the use of chemical weapons. "We believe that nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands, that is to say that the United States does not have any legal claim to act at the same time as the prosecutor, the judge and unfortunately the executioner in dealing with these issues particularly in light of the U.S.'s own record of supporting a regime, that of Saddam Hussein that used chemical weapons not only against Iranian soldiers and civilians, but against his own people in Halabja."

The foreign minister also said that the U.N. team of inspectors who visited the attacked area have not yet furnished a report of their findings. "We believe that our region has enough difficulty and is in enough turmoil not to be engulfed in a war in which chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are used; and that is why Iran has been pushing for a region free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."

Iran has faced scrutiny from the West on the charge that it is developing nuclear weapons. The country denies this, saying that the program is used for energy and medical research purposes.

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