Former deputy FM rejects speculations about change in Iran’s Syria policy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s former Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs rejected media speculations that the country has shifted its policy on Syria, reiterating that Tehran’s all-out support for President Bashar al-Assad remains unchanged.

“Some people think that Iran has changed its policy on Syria or the Russians’ presence has undermined Iran’s influence and role while these are wrong speculations,” Hossein Sheikholeslam, also former Iranian ambassador to Damascus, said on Monday.

Noting that Iran is pursuing a stable policy on Syria based on the realities on the ground and the political scene in Syria, he said, “Today, I can say that Iran’s influence and role has increased and become more important than ever.”

Sheikholeslam, who is now a top advisor to the Iranian parliament speaker for international affairs, underlined that while the Russian warplanes are playing an important role in the annihilation of Takfiri terrorist groups, more important is the ground operations and advancing on the ground by the Syrian army, popular and resistance forces.

He reminded Iran’s military advisory role in Syria, and said, “At present, Russia, Syria and Iran enjoy the highest level of cooperation in the crisis in Syria. In other words, when the Russian defense minister visits Tehran and consults with the Iranian officials, it means that both sides have enhanced their coordination to the highest levels.”

“At present, Tehran and Moscow have focused their efforts on safeguarding Syria’s stability and fight against terrorism,” Sheikholeslam said.

Stressing that Iran and Russia are in agreement over the future of Syria, he said, “Both Iran and Russia believe that Syria’s future should be decided by the Syrian people and they, and not the US and Turkish presidents and the Saudi king, should decide about it.”

Asked if Iran will increase its advisory role in Syria, Sheikholeslam said Tehran started its role when the Syrian government asked for, other countries were interfering in Syria and sent terrorists there, and the Syrian government had practiced reforms and the ground was paved for the presence of other parties in the country’s political structure.

Iran is helping the regional states, including Iraq and Syria, in the war on terrorism by sending military advisors at the demand of their governments.

In relevant remarks last Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that Tehran is providing a military advisory role in Iraq and Syria after the two countries’ issued emergency calls and requested help.

“Iran is in Iraq and Syria at the request of their governments to fight against the danger of terrorism,” Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Norwegian counterpart Borge Brende in Oslo.

“We should all understand that the crisis in Syria doesn’t have a military solution and we negotiate with Norway on this issue. We should know that this issue can (only) be resolved through a political solution,” he added.

By Fars News Agency