Velayati: ​Ousting Assad ​is ​Iran’s ​R​edline

The idea of the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a redline for the Islamic Republic, says a senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

“Iran believes that the government of Bashar al-Assad should remain in power until the end of the presidency term and the removal of Assad is a redline for us,” Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises Ayatollah Khamenei on international affairs, said in a televised interview on Saturday.

He emphasized that only the Syrian people can decide the future of their country and their president.

The Iranian official also commented on the policies of the United States in the Middle East, saying Washington has suffered repeated failures in its regional policies.

People in Afghanistan and Iraq, Velayati said, have pushed Americans out of their countries and now the US authorities cannot tolerate Iran’s influence in countries such as Iraq and Syria.

“At the request of these governments (Iraq and Syria), we support them [in their fight] against terrorists and it is none of Americans’ business to say anything in this regard,” Velayati stated.

He noted that Washington is behind the creation of terrorist groups such as the Daesh Takfiri group.

The Iranian official warned that the US seeks to disintegrate Muslim countries so that proxy governments would be formed to support the Israeli regime.

Velayati also emphasized that whether the Americans accept it or not, the time for their presence in the region is over.

Velayati’s remarks came after Ram Ben-Barak, the director general of Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, called on February 14 for the partition of Syria along sectarian lines.

“I think that ultimately Syria should be turned into regions, under the control of whoever is there – the Alawites where they are, the Sunnis where they are,” Ben-Barak said.

Syria has been plagued by militancy since March 2011, which according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has so far claimed the lives of at least 270,000 people. Some reports, however, put the death toll at as high as 470,000.