News : Middle East
- Published: Saturday, 10 March 2018
By INU Staff
INU - On Thursday, a few days after the visit to Tehran by France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East.
Le Drian flew to Tehran on Monday to reaffirm European support for the 2015 nuclear deal, and to discuss U.S. concern about Tehran’s missile program and its influence in the region.
Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying, “European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?” He added that the Islamic Republic would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region. Khamenei is Iran’s ultimate authority on all major matters of state.
During the seven year civil war in Syria, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have sent weapons and thousands of soldiers to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. According to Israel, Tehran of seeking a permanent military presence in Syria. With one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, that boasts precision-guided missiles have the range to strike Israel, Iran was the subject of discussions in Washington this week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne
The presence of U.S. military forces in various regions of the world was called “malicious and seditious” by Khamenei, who also stated that Iran would not ask for permission from Washington to be active in the Middle East. “We will negotiate with America when we want to be present in America,” he said.
Meanwhile, unless three European signatories help “fix” the nuclear deal by forcing Tehran to curb its actions in the Middle East, as well as its ballistic missile program, Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement. Also critical of the agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron has raised the possibility of new sanctions.
Tasnim News agency quoted Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatamias saying that Tehran is ready to offer “military advisory and security” help to Afghanistan in that state’s fight against terrorism. This is believed to be an allusion to the Islamic State fighters and also Sunni Taliban insurgents, as Iran has been aiding the Shi’ite-led government of Iraq in its fight against the Sunni militant Islamic State group.
On Wednesday, state media quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying that Iran’s military might posed no threat to any country in the region. “Our weapons are meant to promote peace, strengthen stability and security and to prevent others from invading our country. No one should be concerned about Iran’s weapons and missiles,” Rouhani said.
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