Iran sees no need to negotiate Mideast issues with US: Shamkhani
A senior Iranian official says the Islamic Republic is not willing to negotiate Middle East issues with the United States, stressing that Washington cannot act as “judge, jury and executioner” in the troubled region.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the remarks in an interview with the French daily Le Monde, which was published on Friday.
“Concerning the Middle East issues, we neither have any intention to negotiate with the US nor do we have any inclination or see any need to do so,” he said.
He said US President Donald Trump’s words and deeds have always been contradictory during his tenure, adding that he “understands all matters using the economic logic, and does not have a correct comprehension of international relations.”
“However, we do not seek tension in the region [either] as we consider it to be to the detriment of regional stability,” the official added.
US role in Syria
Shamkhani further slammed Washington’s missile attack on a Syrian airbase in early April.
It saw a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles launched against the Shayrat Airfield in the western Syrian Homs Province, causing some 15 fatalities, including civilians. Washington staged the offensive, accusing Syria of an earlier purported gas attack against a northwestern village.
Addressing the US attack, and whether it has caused Iran to fear more active military role by Washington in the region, Shamkhani said it is yet to be seen whether the current American administration, which had criticized its predecessors’ military interventionism, would “repeat its past mistakes.”
“Such moves do not send across any new point. Such attacks, and Washington’s direct [military] involvement for that matter, do not change the standing circumstances,” said the Iranian official.
The US, he added, cannot act as “judge, jury, and executioner” in Syria.
Shamkhani repeated the Islamic Republic’s stance that there is no political solution to the crisis that broke out in Syria in 2011.
“We do not believe that Syria staged such attack in Khan Shaykhun,” he said, calling for an independent and impartial probe into the incident.
He also reminded that Damascus had turned over its stockpiles of chemical arms in a UN-overseen process back in 2013.
“Foreign meddling does not have any impact on [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s power,” Shamkhani stressed. “Most Syrians support him and the fate of the country’s people is [eventually] in their own hands.”
Shamkhani was also asked if the deteriorating Russo-American ties following the US missile attack on Syria, was in Iran’s interest given Damascus and Tehran’s alliance with Moscow.
“Our Russia ties are independent of existence or lack of relations between Moscow and Washington…We cooperate with Russia and this cooperation is to even grow as long as terror movements, which are inspired by some regional countries, exist [in Syria],” he replied.
Syria relies on Iran and Russia’s assistance in its counterterrorism drive. Russia has been lending back-up air power to the Syrian Army’s anti-terror missions since last September.
The operations have also been benefiting from Iranian military advisory support.
US economic war on Iran
Shamkhani also addressed the issue of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts at re-imposing the economic situation lifted against Iran after its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
He said, “At Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s behest, Iran has designed a type of“Resistant Economy,” which relies on its assets inside the country.”
“We are aware that the US is leading an economic warfare on Iran. They, however, have found themselves in new circumstances today. The Europeans are no longer interested in accompanying the US [in imposing and enforcing punitive measures against Tehran,” he added.