Iran hails ties with Russia amid Israel's concerns

By Agencies Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/7/14 9:13:06

A senior Iranian official on Friday hailed the strategic ties with Russia and vowed to keep bilateral ties steady.

Tehran and Moscow share common interests, and Iran-Russia cooperation in helping Syria counter terrorism is an "exemplary model of cooperation," Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily.

Israel cannot affect the cordial ties between Iran and Russia, Velayati said in Moscow on Friday, two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's demand that "Iran needs to leave Syria."

"The process of developing relations between Iran and Russia is not one-sided and therefore, the irrelevant, meaningless and interventionist claims made by Netanyahu do not affect Iran-Russia relations," Velayati said.

Iran's role in Syria will be a key topic at an upcoming summit between Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Finland's capital Helsinki on Monday.

Iran and Russia's presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and U.S. aggression, the Iranian senior official said.

"Iran's presence in Syria and Iraq is advisory and if their respective governments want it, we will leave (the Arab countries) immediately," Velayati was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.

He referred to the U.S. demand for Iran's exit from Syria and Iraq.

If Iran and Russia leave Syria in the current situation, terrorism would return to the Arab country, he warned.

"The United States is seeking to divide Iraq into three parts and Syria to five," he added.

Velayati, former Iranian foreign minister and incumbent international adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, travelled to Moscow on Wednesday to convey messages from Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Putin.

Velayati described his meeting with Putin as very "constructive," "transparent" and "friendly."

In a statement on Thursday, the Kremlin said the meeting between Putin and Velayati focused on regional security, particularly the situation in Syria, and the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 international nuclear deal.

"The Russian president stressed that he will not care about unilateral sanctions against Iran, and Moscow does not accept sanctions which have not been approved by the UN Security Council," Velayati said.

Commenting on relations, he said ties between the two countries have always been on the rise.

Posted in: CROSS-BORDERS

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