Iran slams Arab League over Syria opposition seat

Iran's foreign ministry criticized the Arab League of Nation's decision to allocate Syria's long-vacant seat to the Syrian opposition, calling the move a "dangerous precedent" on Wednesday. 
Opposition chief Moaz al-Khatib took Syria's seat on Tuesday as Arab leaders gathered in Doha for their annual summit, sparking a furious reaction from Damascus.
"Handing Syria's seat to the so-called provisional government is a dangerous precedent by the members of the Arab League," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Salehi said, without elaborating, that continuation of "such mistakes will only add to the problems."
Iran has remained a steadfast ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the two-year conflict that the UN says has killed more than 70,000 people.
In a separate report by official IRNA news agency, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said the decision "is in effect the end of the (Arab) League's role in the region."
He also warned that such a fate could await other members of the Arab organization in the future.
Syria's seat had been empty since the country was suspended from the organization in November 2011 after it rejected calls to end violence against protesters and instead pressed a bloody crackdown on dissent.
Leading an opposition delegation into the Doha meeting to thunderous applause from Arab leaders, Khatib demanded that the opposition group backed by Western and Gul countries also be allowed to represent Syria at the United Nations.
The summit affirmed the "right of every state to offer all forms of self-defense, including military, to support the resistance of the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army."
Syrian Vice Prime Minister Qadri Jamil criticized the Arab League as well, telling Iran's Fars news agency that the Syrian people "are disappointed with [it] and do not recognize it."
"These opponents are stooges of foreign countries and they can never be considered as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the country," he said in an interview published on Wednesday.
The Syrian state-run daily Al-Thawra said "the [Arab] League has handed Syria's stolen seat to bandits and thugs."
Tehran regards many Syrian opposition groups as "terrorists" being backed by Western and Arab countries, but it urges talks to form a national reconciliation committee to end the conflict.

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