Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Putin hosts aide to Iran's supreme leader amid Syria talks

Putin hosts aide to Iran's supreme leader amid Syria talks

Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on global affairs, smiles as he listens to questions from the media during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the government palace in Beirut May 18, 2015.

Velayati asserted that Iran and Russia's ties are "strategic", citing mutual fight against Daesh in Syria, cooperation at the United Nations and also Russia's support for crafting the 2015 nuclear deal as "other examples of strategic and long-lasting ties".

Qassemi said the letters are aimed at "emphasizing the importance of expanded relations between Iran and Russia".

Tehran and Moscow already cooperate militarily in Syria, and have been instrumental in sustaining President Bashar al-Assad during the country's brutal seven-year civil war. "Only a strategic and long-term relationship (with Russia) can continue this cooperation", said Velayati, who was also due to meet Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow.

The Iranian official went on to say that a $4-billion oil deal with a major Russian firm will become operational in the near future. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser on global affairs to the speaker of Iran's parliament, said Velayati was scheduled to meet Putin on Thursday and would discuss ways to confront USA policy in the Middle East region.

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The Iranian spokesperson explained that Velayati's visit to Moscow was in line with such a policy and noted that he would also travel to China.

But European firms are reluctant to risk far-reaching United States financial penalties they would face for doing business in Iran.

On July 11, Putin held talks at the Kremlin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told the Russian leader that "Iran needs to leave Syria". Asked about Netanyahu's visit, Velayati said: "His presence or absence in Russian Federation has no effect on our strategic mission in Moscow".

Israel fired a Patriot missile at an unmanned aircraft that approached the country's border from Syria for the second time this week, the military said Friday.

Velayati also said Iran and Russian Federation would "continue to cooperate in Syria", where both countries support President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the seven-year civil war there.

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