Iran role in Syria key item at Trump-Putin summit

Middle East expert and author Joel Rosenberg

Middle East expert and author Joel Rosenberg

The two discussed the regional situation, including Syria, as well as commitment to Iran's nuclear agreement. In May, Total said that without U.S. sanctions waivers it would exit Iran.

Ali Akbar Velayati was scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow.

In reaction to recent remarks by US President Donald Trump, Velayati said Tehran is not willing to negotiate with Washington.

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Ali Akbar Velayati, while visiting Moscow on July 13, also rejected USA and Israeli demands that Iran's military get out of Syria, saying that will happen only if the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asks Iran to go. The province borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Velayati revealed that the Iranians and Russians are going to remain in Syria and Iraq to protect both countries from terrorist groups, as well as from USA aggression.

Iran, a close ally of the two countries, has supported their legitimate governments in their campaign against foreign-backed militancy and terrorism. "We will immediately leave if Iraqi and Syrian governments want it, not because of Israel and America's pressure", said Ali Akbar Velayati in a conference in Moscow.

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"There are possibilities for doing a larger negotiation on helping to get Iranian forces out of Syria and back into Iran, which would be a significant step forward", Bolton said in the CBS interview. Israel, for its part, has repeatedly warned it will not allow Iran or its Shiite proxies to establish a permanent presence in postwar Syria.

"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.

Several Israeli news outlets reported Thursday that Russian Federation has been working to push Syria-based Iranian forces away from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. However, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 10 that Washington would consider requests from some countries to be exempted from sanctions it will put in effect in November 4.

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The military targeted Syrian military positions on Thursday in response.

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