Iran Aiding Libyan Rebels
Apparently, the Libyan rebels have been receiving aid from the Islamic Republic of Iran:
Iran “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.
We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi,” Salehi told the daily.
“The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping,” he added.
With the rebel’s victory now essentially complete, Iran is reaching out to them:
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi spoke with N.T.C. Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil over the phone on Tuesday, congratulating the rebels on their “victory over dictatorship.” He also invited Abdul-Jalil to Teheran on a state visit in order to “deepen bilateral ties.”
Earlier in the campaign, Iran sent aid and humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people. The country has been supporting the rebels since March and called the fight against Gadhafi an “Islamic Awakening.” However, Iran is wary of the West’s involvement in the revolution, and thinks that NATO’s presence in Libya may come with the cost of colonization.
During the Arab Spring, Iran has broadcast a pro-democracy stance. The Islamic Republic publicly supported protestors in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, but it has been slow to fully abandon Syria’s President Bashir al-Assad. Iran has, however, insisted that Assad make constitutional concessions and stop attacking demonstrators.
“The government should answer to the demands of its people, be it Syria, Yemen, or other countries,” Salehi said this weekend. “The people of these nations have legitimate demands, and the governments should answer these demands as soon as possible.”
The irony of the Iranians talking about democracy, freedom, and self-determination is quite apparent. Their actual motives in currying ties with the government-to-be in Libya should be rather obvious.