Moscow welcomes Iran-Arab dialogue

Financial Tribune- Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow welcomes talks between Iran and Arab countries over political issues of the region.

Iranian officials have called for setting up a regional platform to hold dialogue and settle differences, and President Hassan Rouhani recently visited Kuwait and Oman to help improve ties between Iran and Persian Gulf Arab states.

In his remarks televised on Sunday in Russian media, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov underlined the significant role of Iran in solving problems concerning Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

He was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Tuesday that “Iran has had a profound influence on eliminating tensions throughout the region.”

In a recent interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper, Bogdanov dismissed accusations about Iran’s involvement in regional crises and said, “I do not believe such claims since no proof have been offered … and the issue needs a comprehensive review.”

Iran has been providing military advisory support to both Iraq and Syria in their campaign against terrorism at the request of the two countries’ governments.

The Russian deputy minister referred to the possibility of cooperation between Iran and other regional countries and said, “Documents have been signed by Persian Gulf Arab states, Iran, Turkey and the US, which can be deemed as a starter for regional cooperation.”

The documents were provided during the summit held last year in Vienna by the International Syria Support Group consisting of a number of world powers, including Russia, US, England and France as well as some regional players such as Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Asked about ending Iran’s presence in Syria, he stated, “Why should it end? There are thousands of militants in Syria with different nationalities, so what is the point in asking Iran to leave Syria?”

Bogdanov noted that the Syrian government has the right to ask foreign forces to exit the country as soon as a proper solution to its issues has been found.

After four years of a brutal civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half of the population, Syria remains a divided country. A variety of actors are locked in a power struggle, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, Kurdish forces and militant groups like the Al-Nusra Front and the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

“At this point, the situation in Syria is not merely restricted to Syrian-Syrian sides, as the issue has become extremely complex. In particular, the presence of terror groups such as IS and Al-Nusra has added to the worries,” the Russian official said.

Bogdanov concluded by explaining Iran and Russia’s involvement in Syria following a formal request by the Syrian government and asserted that “Iran and Russia’s goal is to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and independence”.