No Downturn in Iran-Russia Strategic Ties, Velayati Says

Iran and Russia have mutual, long-term and strategic interests, Ali Akbar Velayati, the international adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said, dismissing any slowdown in Tehran-Moscow cooperation.

“The path of long-term and strategic cooperation between the two countries is irreversible, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to boost support and cooperation (with Russia) in all fields,” Velayati said Tuesday in a meeting in Moscow with Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s International Affairs Committee Alexey Pushkov.

Velayati underlined that Iran and Russia share long-term, strategic interests and also face common threats.

“One of the examples of the common interests of Iran and Russia is the Syrian issue,” the Iranian representative said, stressing that victory against terrorist groups in Syria will help protect the territorial integrity of other regional countries, such as Iraq and Turkey, and bring about stability and peace to the region.

“Extremism in the region is spreading into Central Asia and west of China, and bilateral cooperation (between Iran and Russia) could play a role in this regard (the battle against extremism),” he added.

Velayati is in Moscow for talks with top Russian officials on the latest developments in the region and coordination of policies on Syria.

Iran and Russia, two main allies of Syria, insist that settlement of conflicts in the Arab country should involve a political solution, excluding any foreign interference or terrorist groups.

Syria has been entangled in civil war since March 2011, with Takfiri terrorist groups like Daesh (ISIL) controlling parts of it, mostly in the east.

In the past five years, more than 250,000 people have died in Syria -overwhelmingly civilians- and around 4 million Syrians are now refugees in other countries. Around 8 million others have been displaced internally.