Russia, Iran To Shape Syria’s Future

The recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Kremlin was an important one mainly because of the current political situation in Syria (and Iraq).
In the presence of President Putin, the Iranian leader announced that Tehran, with the help of Moscow, would try to turn West Asia into a region free of nuclear weapons. The two leaders also mentioned their ‘goal’ in a joint statement issued on March 28.
It was an interesting declaration indeed, keeping in mind that both Russia and Iran are nuclear powers and now they want ‘nuclear free’ West Asia. We should remember that the European Union and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, Britain, the US and Germany) had signed a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14, 2015 to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
Even after signing the JCPOA, Europe and America have failed to establish friendly ties with the West Asian powerhouse and allowed Russia to cash in on the opportunity. President Putin has grabbed the opportunity with both hands, as he knows that Iran can help Russia not only meet the growing demands for petroleum products, but also carry out anti-ISIS operations in neighbouring Syria.
In Moscow, President Rouhani assured his host that Syrian peace talks, sponsored by Iran, Russia and Turkey, would continue in Kazakhstan, saying that Tehran wants a ‘stable’ Syria. In the presence of Rouhani and Putin, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that his country was ready to allow Russia to use its military bases for launching air strikes against militants in Syria on a “case by case basis”.
Foreign policy experts opine that the involvement of America and Saudi Arabia in Syrian war has prompted Iran, Russia and Turkey to form an alliance. Iran and Russia, considered as key allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have played decisive roles in the last 18 months and managed to turn the tide of the Syrian conflict in his favour. In 2016, Iran allowed Russian jets to use its air bases to launch attacks against militant targets in Syria. However, Tehran changed its decision after some lawmakers called the move a breach of Iran’s Constitution. Now, the Rouhani administration plans to change its decision once again.
“Russia doesn’t have a military base (in Iran), we have good co-operation, and on a case by case basis, when it is necessary for Russians fighting terrorism to use Iranian facilities, we will make a decision,” stressed Zarif.
The foreign minister, who was part of the Iranian delegation headed by President Rouhani, further said that Tehran has always considered Moscow as a “friend” and this friendship would continue. Issuing this statement, Zarif sent a strong signal to the US and its Western allies that Russia, Iran and Turkey could decide the fate of Syria in near future. He expressed hope that the three real power brokers in Syria could prevent the war-ravaged country from suffering Libya’s fate at any cost.

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