Iranian delegation heads to Syria and Lebanon

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A delegation of Iranian MPs left on Saturday for Syria and Lebanon to examine the situation there and “condemn the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups,” parliamentary officials said.

The three-member delegation, headed by the president of parliament’s influential foreign policy committee, Allaeddine Boroujerdi, is expected to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, one official said.

Their visit comes after U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday the United States was weighing “limited, narrow” action against Syria, insisting the world had a duty to act after it concluded Assad’s regime had gassed to death hundreds of women and children.

Syria’s government has denied using chemical weapons and has pointed the finger of blame at “terrorists” -- its term for rebels seeking to topple Assad.

“The purpose of this visit is to examine the situation in Syria, condemn the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups, and insist on the need to find a political solution to the Syria crisis,” parliamentary official Hossein Cheikholislam was quoted as saying on the Iranian parliament’s website.

Iran, Damascus’s main regional ally, has issued stern warnings against any U.S.-led military action targeting Syria, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying it would be a “disaster” for the region.

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke by telephone with U.N. special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi to “warn against any adventurism that will have serious consequences”.

Iranian media reported that Zarif also called a dozen European and Arab foreign ministers to “condemn the use of chemical weapons” in Syria, to “criticize the war-mongering (of the U.S. and its allies) and raise concern about the consequences of any military action in the region”.

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