Iran’s DM Urges Saudi Exclusion from Syria Peace Talks

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said Saudi Arabia should not be part of Syria peace talks, slamming the kingdom for its insistence on overthrowing the Syrian government.

Iran’s DM Urges Saudi Exclusion from Syria Peace Talks

"They (Saudi Arabia) are seeking to topple the existing regime. No talks should be allowed with those who are eager to do it. we must give them a decisive answer," the Iranian minister said in an interview with RT.

He also lashed out at the US for creating terrorist groups and seeking to maintain them in the Middle East.

“The Western coalition is of a formal nature; they have no real intention to fight either in Syria or in Iraq. We don’t see any readiness on their part to play a truly useful and meaningful role in fighting Daesh (ISIL), because it’s them who have raised terrorists and they are interested in keeping them there,” Dehqan said.

According to the Iranian defense minister, Tehran has never coordinated its operations with the Americans and “will never collaborate with them.”

“Maybe the coalition forces would like to see terrorists weakened, but certainly not destroyed, because those terrorists are their tool for destabilizing this region and some other parts of the world.”

He said that terrorists in Syria receive support from the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and accused Turkey of supporting terrorists on the ground.

“If Iran, Russia and Syria were to reach an agreement with Turkey to end Turkish support for those terrorist groups, particularly Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), and start fighting them, then I think we would see the situation in Syria improve,” he added.

According to the minister, any ceasefire in Syria requires guarantees and all parties should agree to fulfill the conditions for a truce.

“We shouldn’t let Daesh or Al-Nusra groups take part in the ceasefire. All other groups should start a political process and negotiations with the Syrian government.”

He added that once the truce comes into force, it is important to separate terrorists and opposition groups ready to negotiate with the Syrian government.

All sides should fight Daesh and Al-Nusra Front, Dehqan stated, adding that everyone should stop supporting terrorists in political, financial and military areas.

Terrorists in Syria have suffered huge losses in organizational structure and morale in recent months, the Iranian minister noted.

“However, during the recent ceasefire they might have been able to rearm, regroup, and prepare for upcoming fights. During the battle for (the Syrian city of) Aleppo, they lost many commanders and fighters. These losses made terrorists leave Aleppo,” he told RT.

Earlier this month, the Iranian defense minister and his Russian and Turkish counterparts held a trilateral meeting in Moscow to coordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism in Syria and contribute to peace in the Arab country.

It came after liberation of Aleppo. In a statement on December 22, Syria’s army announced it has regained full control over Aleppo, clearing the strategic city from foreign-backed terrorist groups after a four-year battle.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.

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