Following meeting with Putin earlier this week, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, insists his country’s advisors and forces are only in Syria at the regime’s behest; says Iran won’t leave ‘because of Israel and America’s pressure.’

Senior advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati said on Friday that Tehran will remove all its “military advisors” from Syria and Iraq only if their governments wanted it to Velayati, who visited Moscow earlier this week to speak with President Vladimir Putin, emphasized that Iranian forces are only stationed in Syria at Assad’s behest. “Iran and Russia helped purify 80% of Syrian territory from terror,” he said.

Ali Akbar Velayati and President Putin (Photo: Reuters)
Ali Akbar Velayati and President Putin (Photo: Reuters)


The Iranian advisor on international affairs also said that his country would not allow the US to force its hand and would remain in Syria despite American pressure.

“The US wants to divide Iraq into three parts and Syrian into five. We will deal with the American presence from Syria to Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and north Africa,” he said, adding that Russia would withdraw from Syria the moment that Iran does.

“Iran and Russia’s presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and America’s aggression … 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.

Earlier, it was reported that Putin promised that Russia is prepared to invest $50 million in Iranian oil and in the Gaza Strip following threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action against Iran.

Velayati’s talks with the Russian leader came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow to discuss his demands vis-a-vis Syria and Iran, as the 7-year Syrian civil war appears to be approaching its final stages.

Netanyahu told Putin on Wednesday that “Israel will thwart any attempt to violate its sovereignty both in the air and on land.”

PM Netanyahu and President Putin (Photo: EPA)
PM Netanyahu and President Putin (Photo: EPA)


He also told him that Israel would not seek to topple Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said.

The senior official claimed that “Russia sought to distance Iran, but (an agreement) was not completed, adding that Russia had suggested the Iranian forces retreat 80 kilometers from the Israeli-Syrian border but that the Kremlin has not agreed to a long-standing Israeli demand that Iran quit the country completely.

Israel has been on high alert as Assad’s forces advance on rebels in the vicinity of the Golan Heights, much of which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981. Israel worries Assad could let his Iranian and Hezbollah terror reinforcements entrench near Israeli lines or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan demilitarization.

As reported by Ynetnews