Iran to Maintain Advisory Role in Syria Despite US' Demands to Withdraw
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that the country would preserve its “advisory presence” in Syria and proceed with support for resistance groups after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed a 12-point ultimatum against Tehran.
Iran’s senior security official said that the country’s presence in Syria is restricted to an advisory role, and is aimed at countering terrorism at the legitimate Syrian government’s request.
“As long as the threat of terrorism exists in Syria and the country’s legitimate government persists in Iran’s advisory presence, we will stay in Syria,” Shamkhani said.
Shamkhani denounced the US’ demands, including those to halt all uranium enrichment, stop its ballistic-missile program and grant nuclear inspectors access to all sites across the country.
“Iran’s missile program is completely indigenous and defensive. We will not seek permission from anyone to develop our defense power and will not hold negotiations on it. There is no logical reason to negotiate with a country that does not abide by its commitments. By leaving the JCPOA, the US practically tore up the international agreement,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
The official went on to slam the European Union, saying it should have “acted more firmly and decisively in condemning and stopping preliminary US measures in violating the JCPOA.”
“The Europeans kept silent in the lead-up to America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and this relayed somehow a message of following the United States,” he elaborated.
Shamkhani’s remarks echo Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi’s comments, made earlier this week, criticizing Pompeo’s stance.
“For his [Pompeo’s] information, it must be recalled that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s legal right to uranium enrichment has been established and its (enrichment) indigenous know-how exists in the country,” he said on Saturday, adding that Pompeo “has engaged in… the very special issue [of Iran’s nuclear program] with some delay and without necessary and adequate information.”
The Iranian officials’ remarks followed the newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of 12 demands for any new nuclear deal with Tehran, vowing to introduce “the strongest sanctions in history” if Iran refuses to change its foreign and domestic policies.
Pompeo’s anti-Tehran rant at the Heritage Foundation event came weeks after US President Donald Trump decided to pull Washington out of the nuclear deal and to re-impose sanctions on Tehran.