Did Velayati Offer Assad Asylum? Iran Concedes Assad's Departure Soon To Come
10 December 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
A series of personal messages indicate that Iran has finally decided to host
Assad i.e. grant him asylum, and receive him in Tehran as a hero. A statement
made by the Supreme Leader's advisor Velayati when he visited Syria and
Lebanon a few days ago formed the basis of this indication. Did Velayati
offer Assad asylum?
It appears that the rare ''positive'' climate in the middle of this
destruction is responsible for these wishes. Other positive news include the
terrorist organisation al-Nusra Front releasing kidnapped Lebanese soldiers
in a deal arranged by Hezbollah and Qatar and the agreement that Suleiman
Franjieh will be the new president of Lebanon after a long dispute over the
post. All of this suggests that a series of breakthroughs has begun! Has
Assad's departure really come?
If a senior Iranian official like Velayati announces that they will grant
Assad asylum, it would be a very important development that would not pass by
governments and the press unnoticed. I have not found any mention of this
except in Syrian opposition media which is, of course, not a reference for
news on the regime. After a long search, I discovered the complete video of
Velayati's interview with Al-Mayadeen television channel. At the end of the
interview, the presenter asked the Iranian guest whether Iran would host
Assad soon ''especially since he visited Moscow a month ago''.
The question hints at the fact that Tehran is refraining from hosting Assad.
Velayati answers her by saying that ''The presence of Assad in Damascus is
necessary and when the duty arises, we will receive him in Iran. There is no
attempt to impose anything on Mr Assad on our part or for him to leave the
area. We do not want him to leave his country, and when he wants to visit
Iran, we are ready to welcome him warmly. We will receive him as a hero as he
has defended his people for the last 5 years and we do not want his position
to become vacant''.
Anyone listening to the last part of Velayati's answer would think that he
welcomes granting asylum to Assad. However, the question was clear in that it
was asking why Assad had not yet been received in Tehran after he had visited
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers
of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He
is currently based in Dubai.