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Tuesday 18th
posted by Morning Star in World

by Our Foreign Desk

RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed in Moscow yesterday that their two countries have a united position on Syria.

Both diplomats warned against any outside attempt to dictate a resolution to the Syrian civil war.

The nuclear deal reached last month between Iran and world powers has encouraged a series of diplomatic initiatives aimed at achieving a breakthrough in Syria.

Mr Lavrov met members of the Syrian opposition last week, while Mr Zarif was in Damascus meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss ways of ending the war.

“Our states hold a common position on regulating the Syrian crisis,” said Mr Zarif at a joint news conference with Mr Lavrov.

“The Syrians must themselves decide their fate and their future and foreign states should only make this easier.”

Moscow and Tehran have both supported the Assad government in the conflict, which has left more than 250,000 people dead since it began in 2011.

The international nuclear deal, which lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme, has also raised expectation in Russia of expanded trade with Iran, including in the areas of nuclear energy and defence such as anti-aircraft missiles.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday that the fate of the historic nuclear deal was still unclear as legislators in both the Islamic Republic and the US are reviewing it.

Referring to Washington, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “In their understanding of the deal, the fate of which is not clear since it is not clear if it will be approved here or there, their intention was to find a way to penetrate our country, but we blocked this way and we will block it determinedly.”

The remarks by the Supreme Leader, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, suggests that he supports politicians’ role in approving the deal.

He has not given public approval or disapproval to the deal, although he repeatedly offered words of support to his country’s nuclear negotiators.

“The United States intends to maintain its influence in the region to pursue its own objectives. We will not allow this,” Ayatollah Khamenei declared.