By Khalid Ali
Monday, 29 August 2011
"The Syrian government received an unexpected warning from its staunchest ally yesterday when Iran urged President Bashar al-Assad to heed the "legitimate demands" of civilians protesting against his family's 40-year rule.
In a noticeable shift in tone from Tehran, Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the Middle East could be plunged into chaos if President Assad continued to ignore calls for reform.
Speaking to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Mr Salehi said: "Either in Yemen, Syria or any other country, people have some legitimate demands and governments should answer them as soon as possible."
Previous statements from the Iranians have focussed on accusations about alleged "foreign conspiracies".....
Iran's statement yesterday was met with incredulity by some. Rime Allaf, a Syria expert from the Chatham House think-tank, tweeted: "How bad a regime do you have to be to have the #Iran regime ask you to listen to your people's demands?!"....."