Won’t accept pressures for Assad’s ouster: Iran

Tehran, Oct 29 (IANS) Iran said on Thursday that it will not accept any pressure for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under the pretext of solving the Syria crisis.

The statement, made by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, came as Tehran prepares to attend international talks on the future of Syria scheduled for Friday in Vienna.

“No change has taken place in Iran’s stance pertaining to its support to Syria,” Amir-Abdollahian told state IRIB TV. “Tehran has always backed the campaign against terrorism and the political process (to settle the conflicts) in Syria.”

“Those who are seeking the departure of Assad know well that only the Syrian people will decide their fate within the framework of a political process,” he added.

On Wednesday, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told French radio RTL that in the upcoming talks Assad’s ouster was not a prerequisite, “but the process that will be triggered must lead to Assad’s departure”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif will take part in the Vienna talks.

Tehran has emerged as a staunch regional ally of the Assad government in Syria’s long-lasting conflict.

Washington, which saw Iran as “part of the problem” in the Syria crisis and advocated excluding Tehran in political talks on Syria, has since agreed to include Tehran in the process.

Iran has rejected the US claims of it being part of the problem in Syria, accusing Washington of supporting terrorist groups in the Arab state.

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