World Bulletin / News Desk
Calls by Muslim clerics for a holy war against the Syrian government and its allies are fuelling violence in the region, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi called for jihad in Syria after fighters from Hezbollah intervened to help President Bashar al-Assad, in a move which stoked sectarian tensions.
Iran, a close ally of Assad and backer of Hezbollah, has accused Arab and Western states of fomenting "terrorism" in Syria by arming rebels caught up in the two-year-old revolt.
"There were steps and fatwas from clerics like Mr Qaradawi, these fatwas escalate and encourage apostasy and radicalism in the region," Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iranian Deputy Minister for Arab and Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Kuwait.
Kuwait, which lies across the Gulf from Iran, has voiced concern that the Syrian crisis is heightening sectarian tension and becoming a battlefield for regional powers.
Abdollahian said radicals in Syria have been attacking all sects and creating rifts between communities. He called for a political solution to the crisis which has killed more than 90,000 people.
Abdollahian, who was in the Gulf Arab state to meet with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah, denied that Iran was giving military aid to the Syrian army.
"We give economic, political and media support to Syria," he said. Hezbollah was involved only to protect the Lebanese-Syrian border and to shield Lebanese living in Syria from violence, he said.Last Mod: 20 Haziran 2013, 11:47