Iranian Official: Presence in Syria Coordinated With Moscow and Damascus
By VOA News July 13, 2018
Tehran's position on its military presence in Syria is coordinated with Moscow and Damascus and has no relation to Israel, an Iranian official said Friday.
Speaking at the conference of the International Valdai Discussion Club, a think tank based in Moscow, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "this coordination does not necessarily have to meet Israel's demand."
His statement was in response to a question about whether Iran would withdraw its forces from Syria's southern region near Israel's border.
Velayati also dismissed the possibility of talks with the United States, saying that Iran does not think the administration of PresidentDonald Trump and American representatives are "worthy of being approached."
"We do not want to have talks with the Americans, and if the Americans have an illusion that we will approach them and offer to negotiate, [they are wrong] we do not need that," Velayati said.
The threats made by the U.S. will not force Iran to leave Syria, he said, adding that Iran did not come to Syria with the United States' permission," and "will not leave because of the threats made by the Americans."
Velayati said that U.S. sanctions against Iran could raise oil prices and harm oil consumers.
U.S. has intensified economic pressure on Tehran after Trump withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in May.
Following the summit of NATO leaders in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the U.S.'s European allies to get tough on Iran by cutting off all funding the country may use to fund terrorism and proxy wars in the Middle East and beyond.
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