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Vox Pop: Iranians React To Events In Syria

Smoke rises above buildings following what many say was a toxic gas attack by Syrian forces on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.
Listeners from across Iran have been contacting RFE/RL's Radio Farda in response to news of a chemical weapons attack in neighboring Syria, which many international observers have blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Tehran's support for the Damascus administration, which has already been criticized by many Iranians, could become even more unpopular if it transpires that Assad's forces were behind the deadly assault that activists say killed hundreds of people.

Iranians are well aware of the horrors caused by chemical weapons as more than 100,000 soldiers and civilians are estimated to have been victims of poisonous gas used by Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. Many are still suffering the long-term effects of chemical agents to this day.

Here's a selection of some of the comments Radio Farda listeners have left with the service via text messages as well as by telephone.

Text messages from Iran:

"Tell the Iranian people to pray for Bashar al-Assad's defeat because, God forbid, if he wins then Syria has to be rebuilt with Iranian money" -- Soltani from Amol

"Only with an iron fist is it possible to uproot the brutal dictatorship of Assad and free Iranians from his burden." -- Tavoos

"Iran's leaders care about Syria more than their own people." -- Balooch from Khuzestan Province

"Those [Iranians] who have invested their dollars in Syria are afraid of the popular movement of the Syrian people because they'll lose their investments." -- Farshad from Meshkin

"In my opinion, attacking Syria is not right because the United States has not yet proven who is responsible for the chemical attacks." -- Eskandar from the southern Pars Province.

"...Please tell Iranian leaders that it is not necessary to support Syria. Just pay the pension of National Steel Company retirees, who have not received anything for three months." -- Ali from Tehran

Unsigned text messages:

"The dictator Bashar al-Assad has been gripped by deadly fear."

"America, NATO, and Israel must act for the elimination of Assad the dictator."

"The peoples of Syria, Lebanon, and Iran want a war for freedom from dictatorship."

"I am surprised that the international community seems to be unaware of the duplicity of the Syrian regime. Bashar al-Assad is killing the Syrian people. Please do something for these poor defenseless civilians."

"I am saying strongly...if the United States attacks Syria, then New York, Washington and other parts of the United States will be attacked by nuclear weapons and the world will be amazed."

ALSO READ: Iranian Officials Walk Fine Line On Syria Chemical Weapons

Telephone messages from Iran:

"[Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei is a partner in Bashar al-Assad's crimes because he gave him billions of dollars and the survival of the Islamic regime in Iran depends on the survival of the Syrian regime."

"Mr. [U.S. President Barack] Obama, please for a moment put yourself in the shoes of all those parents whose children have died in Syria and in order to prevent more human tragedy, please take action so that history remembers you fondly."

"In my opinion, instead of bringing Assad to justice, the United States and European nations should put the Iranian leaders on trial because they were the ones who have supplied Assad with chemical weapons for testing them on humans."

"Mr. [Iranian President Hassan] Rohani, during your electoral campaign you were talking about rationality. Now, with the crisis created in Syria and in the region, the time has come to use your rationality and stop supporting Assad."

"The Syrian people are the brothers of other nations but the United States and Britain decide to intervene when it is in their interest. The Syrian people -- women and children -- have been dying a long time. Is this fair?"