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Washington, DC - The Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) decries the consideration of Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the international nuclear negotiations.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has listed Foreign Minister Zarif and Federica Mogherini on its shortlist of nominees for this year’s Peace Prize for their involvement in negotiating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was intended to limit Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.

While some have lauded the deal as a victory for nonproliferation, the deal has undeniably emboldened Iran to double down on its support of the Assad regime in its assault on Syrian civilians. 

Iran and its militias continue to serve as the ground force for the Assad regime, in the service of which they have committed several human rights abuses documented by the UN and international monitors, including extrajudicial executions, besiegement, and sectarian cleansing. The UN has said that suffering in besieged Madaya, where Iran and its proxy Hezbollah besieged and starved innocent children to death in 2015, had no precedent in Syria war. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif has also repeatedly denied that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against civilians, including in April 2017 as part of the attack on Khan Sheikhoun that prompted U.S. action. 

“The militias acting under the command of the Iranian Government and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have committed innumerable atrocities and are responsible for propping up the Assad regime,” said Mouaz Moustafa, Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force and a spokesperson for CDS. “Zarif’s support of these militias and of the Assad regime not only endanger the lives of Syrian civilians and undermine efforts for an international peace, but they also directly threaten U.S. regional security interests.”  

“Awarding the Nobel Peace prize to FM Zarif, who represents Iran and its policy of destabilization, shamefully demonstrates to Iran and to the world that the international community is truly indifferent to the crimes committed against Syrians and other civilian victims of Iran’s brutality,” said Mirna Barq, President of the Syrian American Council, and a board member of Syrian Christians for Peace, both members of CDS. 

The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s award decision will be announced publicly tomorrow. 

Also under consideration for the Nobel Prize is the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, who despite being routinely under attack by Iranian-backed forces have saved over 99,000 lives. 


The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together to bring about a swift end to the conflict and support the establishment of peace, freedom, and democracy in Syria. CDS is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, non-partisan organization. CDS includes: Syrian Emergency Task Force, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Council, Syrian Christians for Peace, the Association of Free Syrians, and the American Syriac Union.