Velayati: Russia wants to create joint electrical grid with Iran, Azerbaijan

April FrancisJul 15, 2018

As fighting wanes after seven years of war, the USA has made curtailing Iran's influence in post-war Syria a strategic objective - one strongly backed by Israel.

It may depend, however, on how much Russian Federation is able to dictate policy to Assad: a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that Iran's forces would only exit Syria in accordance with the wishes of Assad or Iraq's governments.

"US must maintain presence in Syria to ensure ISIS doesn't come back and to counter Russia/Iran influence", Graham tweeted early Thursday.

"Iran and Russia's presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and America's aggression".

Israel worries that Assad could let his Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah reinforcements entrench near Israeli lines, or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan disengagement agreement.

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Netanyahu's latest meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin ended with Putin expressing understanding for Israel's call for Iranian forces to be ejected from Syria.

Iran and Russian Federation back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's civil war. "Soon the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey will attend a summit in Tehran", said Velayati, who is expected to visit China shortly.

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He further referred to demands by U.S. officials that Iranians should exit from Syria and Iraq, saying that the Islamic Republic is not present in the Arab countries upon the US's request so as to leave at Washington's demand.

Velayati also addressed the issue of Syria, saying military and political cooperation would ensure the support of the "legal governments of Syria and Iraq". "Therefore, it is necessary that the cooperation [between Iran and Russia] be increased", Velayati said.

The two discussed the regional situation, including Syria, as well as commitment to Iran's nuclear agreement.

"A public deal that accepts Assad in return for limiting Iranian influence implicitly if not explicitly gives him some legitimacy, and gives a much more coherent meaning for the victory beyond military terms", he said.

While the pressure for Iran to limit its presence in Syria will create de facto fissures between the alliance of Russia, Iran and Syria, the three countries' converging interests mean compromises would need to be made.

Would Iran accept a deal? Two other main companies of Russian Federation namely Rosneft and Gazprom Neft have also started negotiations with the Oil Ministry and the value of their deals with Iran can rise up to $10 billion, he added. He suggested Iran will use avenues it has used in the past to evade the sanctions to receive payments for its oil exports.

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