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Putin hosts aide to Iran's supreme leader amid Syria talks

13 July 2018

Elsewhere, Velayati said that both Iran and Russian Federation highlighted the need to continue cooperation in the region to support the legitimate governments of Iraq and Syria; President Putin agrees that this cooperation should continue in both the defense and the political sphere, he added.

Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on worldwide affairs, smiles as he listens to questions from the media during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the government palace in Beirut May 18, 2015. The United States pulled out of a multinational deal in May to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear programme.

In a meeting in Tehran with Putin last November, Ayatollah Khamenei praised Iran-Russia cooperation in the fight against Takfiri terrorists in Syria, stressing that the solution of the Syria crisis requires continued cooperation between the two countries.

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Hamid AbuTalbi, an advisor to Iranian president Rouhani, commented on Velayati visit to Moscow adding that relations between the two countries is not a strategic one as Velayati describes it. "Only a strategic and long-term relationship (with Russia) can continue this cooperation", said Velayati, who was also due to meet Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow.

An Iranian delegation led by Ali Akbar Velayati met Putin in the Russian capital on July 12, the Kremlin said.

"A frank dialogue with Russian leaders at the highest levels and exchanging views can lead to the views of the two countries moving closer and help in finding ways to increase stability and security in the region and confront the improper policies of America and its allies", Amir-Abdollahian, a former deputy foreign minister, said on Wednesday, according to state media.

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Mr. Putin's reports in the meeting demonstrated that Iran-Russia oil cooperation can be developed to some $50 billion which is a considerable volume, he said, adding that Russia can appropriately replace Western companies which have left Iran due to USA sanctions. However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States might consider requests from some countries to be exempted from sanctions.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said Velayati will also pay a visit to China to convey messages from Ayatollah Khamenei and Rouhani to Chinese leaders. A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin that Israel wants Iran to leave Syria.

"Therefore, his presence or absence in Russian Federation has no effect on our strategic mission", he added.

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Velayati reaffirmed Iran's firm intention to maintain its presence in Syria, but skirted a question about a possible pullback from the border, saying only that Tehran won't bow to USA and Israeli coercion.