MESOP Syria Daily: What Message Did Iran Send to Assad on Saturday?

by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – 20 March 2016 – Iran has suddenly sent an envoy to Damascus for a meeting with Syria’s President Assad.

Kamal Kharrazi, a former Foreign Minister and now head of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, saw Assad on Saturday, five days after President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of “most” Russian forces supporting the Syrian military.

Russia has shown signs of distancing itself from a full commitment to Assad’s future, with a proposal of federalism — allying itself with the Syrian Kurdish party PYD — and of elections at the end of a transition period. Publicly Iran has maintained that Assad cannot be forced to step aside. The Supreme Leader’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, has said that the issue is a red line for Tehran.

Syrian State media gave no clue to Kharrazi’s message. The SANA news agency merely said the Iranian had declared that “supporting Syria, be it on the level of fighting foreign-backed terrorism or in the political track, is a firmly established strategic policy for Iran”.

SANA headlined Assad’s assertion that 2the victory of the Syrian people and their allies in the war against terrorism would contribute to establishing a more balanced and just world”.

Iran’s leading English-language site Press TV did not mention the meeting.  Kharrazi also saw Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and National Reconciliation Affairs Minister Ali Haidar.


Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made an official visit on Saturday to Turkey, a leading supporter of Syria’s opposition.

Zarif saw Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, issuing the ritual declaration: Cooperation between Iran and Turkey is effective and useful in settling regional crises….High-ranking officials at the Islamic Republic of Iran attach a great significance to relations with Turkey. Press TV did not mention Syria in its account of the discussions.