Zarif rejects as lie Bolton’s quote from Putin

July 22, 2020 - 13:3

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected claims made by former U.S. presidential advisor John Bolton who has said Russia was not interested in Iran’s presence in Syria.

In his new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”, Bolton claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him during their meeting in the Kremlin in June 2018 that Moscow was not interested in Iran’s presence in Syria.

Referring to the claim, Zarif said on Tuesday that Tehran does not believe such comments.

“We think it has nothing to do with the real state of things and the level of cooperation Iran maintains with Russia and Turkey in the interests of peace, stability and accord in Syria,” he said, according to Mehr. 

Zarif added that such stories were obviously meant to heighten interest to the book.

“But no one would ever believe these words either in Moscow or in Tehran,” the chief Iranian diplomat stressed.

He made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Lavrov, in turn, said that Putin could have never said that Moscow doesn’t need Iran in Syria because he is not in the habit of discussing such matters behind his partners’ back.

“[Bolton] had no grounds to quote President Putin [that Russia allegedly doesn’t want Iran’s presence in Syria] because Putin has never said anything of the kind,” Lavrov told a news conference after talks with Zarif in Moscow, TASS reported.

“It is against our traditions and principles, the more so it is against President Putin’s principles, to discuss such things behind the back of our partners. We are tightly cooperating with Turkey and Iran in Syria.”

“I refrain from commenting on the habit of American retired officials to write memoirs in such a way that entails litigations and lawsuits,” Lavrov noted. “Probably, it is part of what can be called a specific political culture had it not been a quite different thing than what we typically call culture.”

Zarif says delivered ‘important’ message to Putin

Zarif visited Moscow on Tuesday to hold talks with senior Russian officials on issues of bilateral and regional significance. Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi also accompanied Zarif during his visit.

In a tweet late on Tuesday, Zarif said he delivered an “important” message from President Rouhani to President Putin.

Zarif said he had held extensive talks with Lavrov on bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global coordination, adding that Tehran and Moscow agreed to finalize a long-term comprehensive deal on strategic cooperation.

The top Iranian diplomat said both Tehran and Moscow had “identical views” on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with major world countries, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and highlighted the need for upholding international law.

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and six world powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — in 2015 in Austrian capital, Vienna.

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and later adopted a “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.

Although it is no longer a party to the deal, the U.S. is currently exerting pressure on the UN Security Council to extend an arms embargo against Iran, which will expire under the JCPOA in October.

Tehran has firmly rejected Washington’s plans, stating that the U.S. is no longer a party to the nuclear deal ever since it withdrew from the multilateral agreement.

China and Russia have supported Iran's position.


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