Optimism diminished over the success of a Russian-Iranian conference over the Syrian peace process that is scheduled for mid-January in Astana.
Well-informed Turkish sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the Iranian leadership was imposing vetoes on its possible representatives to the conference.
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Iran would never coordinate with the United States on the Syrian issue, because the US-led coalition “has no real intentions” to fight against ISIS terrorists either in Iraq or in Syria.
“We have never coordinated our actions with the Americans. We will never cooperate with them [on Syria],” Dehghan said in an interview with RT television.
According to the minister, the US-led coalition “has no real intentions” to fight against ISIS terrorists either in Iraq or in Syria.
Hossein Dehghan also said that Iran does not deploy troops in Aleppo, but can send military advisers there if necessary.
“Iran does not have troops there. The Syrian Army is responsible for accomplishing tasks in Aleppo,” Dehghan said, commenting on the possibility of sending regular military units to the city to help maintain security.
“If necessary, we can send military advisers there for consulting purposes,” Dehghan stressed.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov said that during the recent meeting in Moscow with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey, “we approved a joint declaration in which we confirmed our readiness to guarantee a future agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition.”
In an interview with Interfax news agency, Lavrov said: “Negotiations about that issue are going on.”
According to Interfax, Lavrov was referring to talks between the opposition and the Syrian government.
The High Negotiations Committee, a body grouping armed and political opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, said it had no knowledge of the consultations.
“We in the High Negotiations Committee certainly have no connection to this matter,” George Sabra, a member of the HNC, told Reuters.
This article was first published by Asharq al-Awsat on December 28, 2016.