Iran Supreme Leader's aide hails 'strategic' ties with Russia before Putin talks

Lester Mason
July 13, 2018

Argentina's government voiced its frustration with Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration on Thursday, after Moscow ignored a formal request from an Argentine judge to arrest a senior visiting Iranian official implicated in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Velayati asserted that Iran and Russia's ties are "strategic", citing mutual fight against Daesh in Syria, cooperation at the United Nations and also Russia's support for crafting the 2015 nuclear deal as "other examples of strategic and long-lasting ties".

Velayati is in Moscow to submit messages from Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Qassemi said the letters are aimed at "emphasizing the importance of expanded relations between Iran and Russia".

"In these messages, our country's views and stances regarding the United States' selfish and illegal behavior are explained to other countries", he said.

In a meeting in Tehran with Putin last November, Ayatollah Khamenei praised Iran-Russia cooperation in the fight against Takfiri terrorists in Syria, stressing that the solution of the Syria crisis requires continued cooperation between the two countries. "Only a strategic and long-term relationship (with Russia) can continue this cooperation", said Velayati, who was also due to meet Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser on global affairs to the speaker of Iran's parliament, said Velayati was scheduled to meet Putin on Thursday and would discuss ways to confront USA policy in the Middle East region.

A US State Department official said this month that Washington's goal was to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports.

Velayati is among special envoys that Iran is sending to various countries in response to the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year from the 2015 nuclear deal. A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin that Israel wants Iran to leave Syria. Asked about Netanyahu's visit, Velayati said: "His presence or absence in Russian Federation has no effect on our strategic mission in Moscow".

The Iranian presence in Syria is expected to be on the agenda of a July 16 meeting in Helsinki between Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Velayati also strongly warned Russian Federation against listening to the US arguments about the Iranian presence in Syria.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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