Iran denies military presence in Syria, Lebanon
Tehran has denied the remarks attributed to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards that there has been an Iranian military presence in Syria and Lebanon, reported Monday the Iranian Al Alam television channel. The leader of the Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday, according to the Iranian news agency ISNA that members of the elite Al-Quds force were in Syria and Lebanon to provide non-military assistance, but they could intervene on the ground if Syria was attacked.
"The remarks attributed to Jafari for political reasons by some Arab and Western media were selective and false," said the spokesman of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ramin Mehmanparast. "There is no Iranian military presence in the region, especially not in Syria," he added.
On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman asked Iran for explanations about the possible presence of inside Lebanese territory of Revolutionary Guards elements, who helped create the Shiite movement Hizbullah some 30 years ago. The Lebanese leader requested official explanations from Iran at a meeting with Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi, said Monday the Lebanese presidency.
Roknabadi has also denied media reports that Iranian soldiers were in Lebanon. Western countries and the Syrian opposition accuse Iran, which supports President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of the crisis in March 2011, of supplying weapons and expertise to the Syrian army.