Iran cements ‘strategic relationship’ with Russian Federation

ANALYSISJuly 13 2018 12:01am The Times Syria analysis Assad’s regime owes it all to Russians Richard Spencer

ANALYSISJuly 13 2018 12:01am The Times Syria analysis Assad’s regime owes it all to Russians Richard Spencer

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hailed his country's "strategic relationship" with Russian Federation ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Iran, following the United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal, is facing stiff sanctions and can not afford to lose Russia's support, nor will it be able to provide Assad with the same level of support in the long run.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Moscow on Wednesday, Velayati pointed to Netanyahu's upcoming visit to the Russian Federation and said, "He is an itinerant person who travels to somewhere in the world every day".

Israel worries Assad could let his Iranian allies entrench near its lines or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan demilitarization. They are ready to move west to the frontier near the Golan Heights on Israel's border, triggering concerns of a showdown between Israel and Iranian-backed forces nearby.

He made his comments at a conference in Moscow, in response to a question about whether Iran might withdraw its forces from Syria's southern border region, near Israel. The two countries support President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war.

Under the 2015 agreement, Iran strictly limited uranium enrichment capacity to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs.

On June 24, Israel's military said it launched a Patriot missile at an incoming drone from Syria, which turned away unscathed.

On Friday, however, the Israeli press reported that Moscow had turned down the request.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's demand that "Iran needs to leave Syria". The 2011 Daraa protests and the Syrian government's crackdown were widely considered to have helped spark the armed rebellion that once saw opposition fighters in control of most of the country.

Israel for its part has refrained from getting directly involved in the Syrian conflict aside from occasional air strikes against regime targets alongside Iran and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Argentina asked Russian Federation to arrest former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati for extradition in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

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