'Get out of Syria,' Iran tells U.S.
Updated 10:48, 07-Feb-2019
CGTN

Senior Iranian figures said on Wednesday that Syria was a top foreign policy priority and American troops should withdraw, as planned by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Whether they want to or not, the Americans must leave Syria,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was reported as saying.

There are fears in the West that Trump's plan to extricate about 2,000 soldiers from Syria will cede influence to Tehran, which has backed President Bashar al-Assad in the nearly eight-year war, and also allow ISIL to regroup.

“Now 90 percent of Syrian soil is under the control of the government and the rest will soon be freed by the Syrian army,” Velayati added during a meeting with Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Tehran, according to the Tasnim news agency.

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency, February 6, 2019, shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) in the Iranian capital Tehran. /VCG Photo

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency, February 6, 2019, shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) in the Iranian capital Tehran. /VCG Photo

President Hassan Rouhani told Moualem that peace in Syria was a priority. “One of the important regional and foreign policy goals of the Islamic Republic is the stability and complete security of Syria,” Tasnim quoted him as saying.

“And establishing normal conditions in Syria and the return of the people of this country to their normal lives.”

Moualem was in Tehran for negotiations before the meeting of leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort town Sochi on February 14 over Syria.

Rouhani: Iran ready to accept friendly U.S. ties if it repents

Rouhani said on Wednesday his country would be ready to establish "friendly relations" with the U.S. if it apologized for past wrongs.

"Our slogan is friendly relations with the whole world," he said.

That would even include "America, if it repents... and apologizes for its previous interferences in Iran, and is prepared to accept the greatness and dignity of the nation of Iran and the great Islamic Revolution," he said.

"We are still ready to accept America's... repentance despite the fact that for years it has done injustice to us," he told foreign diplomats in Tehran during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Source(s): Reuters