(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Following a consultative meeting that was held in Iran, in which 30 countries converged on the capital city Tehran, US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice blatantly said the alliance of Iran, Lebanese Hizbullah and Assad's government-a group that considers itself the Middle East's "an axis of resistance"-was "bad for the region."
Speaking to NBC television shortly after Assad met a top Iranian envoy in his war-torn capital this week and as Tehran hosted a conference on the conflict designed to shore up the beleaguered Syrian regime, Rice made her statement.
"They view this as an axis of resistance along with Hizbullah, so there is no question that Iran is playing a nefarious role, not only in Syria but more broadly in the region, actively supporting the Assad regime," she said.
Countries participating in Tehran consultative meeting on Syria stressed the need for settlement of crisis there based on respecting international laws and Syria's sovereignty.
The consultative meeting in Tehran on Syria was held under the presidency of Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to pave the ground for dialogue among countries in a peaceful atmosphere and consolidating regional and international all-out efforts to help the Syrian people out of the crisis, according to Iran's state agency.
"One of the reasons why we are quite clear that the end result must be and will be the departure of Assad, is because this alliance, so to speak, is bad not only for Syria, but it is bad for the region and bad for our interests."
Rice said the United States was wary about imposing a Libya-style no fly zone over Syria even though it wanted to increase support for the opposition.
Some Syrian opposition rebels and US politicians have called for a no fly zone and Rice said "none of these potential options have been ruled out."
But she told NBC "the reality is that a no-fly zone isn't a simple proposition, it would ultimately involve putting boots on the ground and it would be a very different circumstance than we saw in Libya."
The US envoy said "the Syrian air defenses are among the most sophisticated in the world. Their military is quite a different beast."
She said the United States is "actively looking at ways to strengthen the opposition: materially and financially and substantively and politically and that is already beginning to show some progress on the ground."
The ambassador admitted that fighting between Assad's forces and rebels is intensifying but insisted the "momentum is shifting clearly in favor of the opposition."
Unlike what she had claimed, the state news agency said that the Syrian Army had made a "decisive attack" just outside Aleppo's ancient center, and that an operation in several neighborhoods had killed dozens of rebel fighters, destroying three pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machineguns.
"The defections are mounting, the economic pressure is mounting, the political
isolation of the Assad is increasing," she claimed.