Putin meeting triggers debate in Iran over Syria policy

Iranian supreme leader's top foreign policy advisor met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week

Putin meeting triggers debate in Iran over Syria policy

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Thursday meeting between Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's chief foreign policy advisor, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has become the subject of debate in Iran.

Although Velayati has no official role in Iran’s Foreign Ministry, he is widely regarded as Khamenei's second most trusted advisor on Syria after Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force.

Velayati has visited Damascus as Khamenei's representative several times. But the fact that Iran's Syria policy has been shaped largely by Khamenei has drawn criticism from members of President Hassan Rouhani’s government.

Sadiq Zibakalam, a lecturer at the University of Tehran, recently noted that Huseyin Emir Abdullahiyan, an aide to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, has repeatedly said that Iran plans to maintain its military presence in Syria.

“Abdullahiyan was dismissed by [Foreign Minister] Javad Zarif, yet he continues to say that Iranian military advisors will remain in Syria,” Zibakalam said.

“But what authority does he have in terms of setting Syria policy?” he asked.

Omid Fraction, Iran’s largest pro-Rouhani parliamentary bloc, recently said in a joint statement: “Regional policymaking has been out of the Foreign Ministry's hands for almost a decade now.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2018, 10:29