Khamenei adviser says Russian Federation to replace Western investors

ANALYSISJuly 13 2018 12:01am The Times Syria analysis Assad’s regime owes it all to Russians Richard Spencer

"Without Iran/Hezbollah, Syria's Assad would not be in power and would not have the ability to slaughter nearly a half-million Syrians", South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham wrote.

But any agreement is likely to be carefully phrased and general in nature, and discussions are likely to be centered more on limiting Iran's presence rather than ending it, analysts say. It bombed Iranian targets in Syria in response to that incident.

He added that cooperation in the region between the resistance front led by Iran and Russian Federation against terrorism and its supporters in Syria and other regional countries was indicative of an exemplary, strategic and long-term partnership between the two countries.

With the American exit from the Iranian nuclear deal, the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions, particularly oil sanctions, coupled with increasing tension between Iran and Israel on Syria's southern border, Iran will need to more deeply rely on Russia's political and economic clout.

"We co-ordinate the Iranian presence in Syria with Russian Federation and Syria", Mr Velayati said during a meeting at Moscow's Valdai Club discussion platform. Tehran is now believed to command up to 80,000 fighters in Syria - members of Shiite militias and paramilitary forces loyal to Iran.

Last month, Israel fired a missile at a drone that approached its airspace near the Syrian frontier, and in February Israel shot down what it said was an Iranian drone that entered its airspace.

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After two weeks of intensive military operations, Assad's forces now control the southern city of Daraa, where the revolution against Assad started, and the surrounding countryside. The province borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Federation on Wednesday that Israel would not seek to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but that Moscow, his key ally, should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said.

A two-hour meeting between the two discussed the future of Iranian-Russian relations, especially the future of oil cooperation as US Economic sanctions close in on Iran.

So what might a potential deal look like?

Velayati, who is also expected to visit China in the near future, described Trump as an "unreliable individual... with relation to worldwide law who necessitates more and more cooperation (between Iran and Russia)".

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