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Iran coordinates military presence in Syria with Russia: Iranian official

Iran coordinates military presence in Syria with Russia: Iranian official

Velayati also said that USA sanctions against Iran could raise oil prices and harm oil consumers.

Iran's role in Syria will be a key topic at an upcoming summit between Putin and his USA counterpart Donald Trump in Finland's capital Helsinki on Monday. In May, it conducted its largest wave of airstrikes against Syria since their war after Israel said Iranian forces launched rockets at Golan Heights, in response to an Israeli airstrike in Syria the previous day.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week said it would be "absolutely unrealistic" to expect Iran to fully withdraw from Syria and stay within its border.

While Israel has warned Syria against its relationship with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he "had no problem with the Assad regime" as long as the Syrian leader held up his end of the 1974 agreement.

"Once Iran's and Russia's support for the Syrian government weakens, terrorists will return there immediately", he stressed.

"The relationship between Iran and the Russian Federation is a strategic relationship and in recent years the collective bilaterial and regional relations have expanded", Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Velayati as saying on arrival in Moscow.




In a statement on Thursday, the Kremlin said the meeting between Putin and Velayati focused on regional security, particularly the situation in Syria, and the USA withdrawal from the 2015 global nuclear deal.

"The US wants to divide Iraq into three parts and Syria into five", Velayati explained.

On Friday, however, the Israeli press reported that Moscow had turned down the request. I don't trust Russian Federation to police Iran or anyone else in Syria.

The pressure on Iran is mounting as US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a 2015 deal that lifted most sanctions on Iran is forcing a number of worldwide companies to reconsider ties with the Islamic republic, putting in jeopardy its giant oil and natural gas projects.

Would Iran accept a deal?

The high-level talks precede Monday's summit in Helsinki between Mr Putin and US President Donald Trump, who are set to discuss the Iranian presence in Syria. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions.

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