TEHRAN – Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, explained to reporters that media reports which tout the line that Israel is working with Russia to withdraw Iranian forces from Syria, are false. Some of these reports even find their way into Russian state-run media outlets such as RT and Sputnik, raising questions about the effectiveness or aims of its possibly unchecked or unsupervised news-writers, critics of Israeli media efforts have noted.
Published on: Mar 5, 2019 @ 15:55
“Iran’s ties with Moscow are strong and we are always in touch and consult with each other,” the ministry spokesman told reporters in Tehran, who disregarded the suggestions that Russia was working against Syria’s sovereign right to have Iranian military and strategic assistance in its war against U.S-Israeli sponsored terrorism.
On a visit last week to Moscow where he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the Jewish state would “not allow the military entrenchment of Iran in Syria”.
“President Putin and I also agreed on a common goal: the withdrawal of foreign forces that arrived in Syria after the outbreak of the civil war. We agreed to establish a joint team to advance this goal, together with other elements,” Netanyahu told members of his cabinet following his successful meeting with the Russian premier.
“It is no small thing that we have such strong, good and close links with leaders of the major powers in the world,” Netanyahu continued. “These links serve the security of Israel.”
Whilst Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in recent years against Iranian and Hezbollah targets, the Jewish state and Russia have managed to maintain a cautiously balanced “de-confliction” hotline aimed at avoiding accidental clashes.
Netanyahu’s trip to Israel served, according to numerous critics, as a media distraction containing nothing of substance. The Israeli leader’s trip to Moscow occurred immediately after news reports hit international media that the beleaguered prime minister was to be indicted by the Israeli attorney general on charges of corruption and fraud.
For the most part the de-confliction line has worked well, excluding one incident in September that threatened to sever cooperation when Russia blamed a downing of its military plane in Syria on Israel that killed 15 Russian servicemen.
Russia has a similar de-confliction agreement with the U.S, established under the Obama administration in 2015, once it became apparent to the U.S that it would not be able to defeat the Syrian Arab Army.
Russia, which like Iran has sided with the government in the Syrian conflict, is yet to officially react to Netanyahu’s statement.
However for Ghasemi, such comments provide just another example of what he refers to as Israeli “psychological” warfare.
Israeli officials “have a habit they cannot quit, and that is lying. (They are) creating a psychological atmosphere to affect Iran’s relations with its neighbors and Russia,” Ghasemi said.
Thousands of pro-Iranian forces have been deployed to Syria, including members of the Revolutionary Guard. However, many of these pro-Iranian forces are not from Iran, but consist of local ethnic-Arab militias who receive support from both Iran and Syria, such as Hezbollah and similar. This important Iranian support has taken place over the course of the devastating war of conquest waged upon Syria by the U.S and its regional allies, which broke out in 2011 with the aim of dismembering the Syrian state and forcing through an Israel-Turkish energy pipeline.
Tehran has patiently explained, whenever asked, that the Guards are serving as “military advisors” and that the brigades sent are made up of “volunteers” from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“As long as the government of Syria wants us there, we will be there,” Ghasemi said.
Under the existing international laws regarding the rights of sovereign states, as explicated in the Geneva conventions and the UN, Syria has this right.