Brutal crackdown against pro-democracy protesters in Syria has put Iran in a difficult position. The Islamic republic had supported the protesters that overthrew the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt. However, in the case of Damascus, its closest ally in the Arab World, Tehran has been accused of helping President Assad in his efforts to intimidate his rivals with the use of force. On Saturday, Iran dismissed President Obama’s allegations that Assad is “seeking Iranian assistance in repressing Syria’s citizens”. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said that it has been Iran’s policy not to intervene in the internal matters of other countries. However, more important than Mehmanparast’s reply to Obama was his criticism of Assad without taking Syria’ name. “We consider as unacceptable the use of violence against the people of any country,” he said. This is the first time Iran has criticized the Syrian leadership since protests erupted a month ago.