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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

US to press Russia for help countering Iran in Syria — report

Wednesday 05/June/2019 - 11:32 AM
Iranian troops march
Iranian troops march
The Times of Israel

A senior official in the Trump administration on Tuesday said that the US was going to tell Russia that Iran should withdraw from Syria، and ask for Moscow’s suggestions on how to counter Tehran’s influence in the region.

US officials were going to make the request in talks between security advisers from Israel، Russia and the US at a summit in Jerusalem at the end of June، according a Channel 13 report.

The unnamed official said that the US supported Israel’s actions against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

“We would hope to make the point in conjunction with the Israelis that we don’t see any positive role for the Iranians – and that would extend beyond Syria، to Lebanon، to Iraq، to Yemen – other places where they’re active،” the official said، according to a Reuters report.

He added that Washington was sure that the summit، with Israel hosting both Russia and the US in Jerusalem، would irk the Iranian leadership، and said that the fact that Russia was participating was a positive sign.

“The fact that the Russians see value in these conversations، that they’re willing to do it publicly، I think is in and of itself quite significant،” the official said.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton، Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem later this month، according to an announcement made by the White House last week.

The rare tripartite meeting is expected to deal mostly with Syria، specifically Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily near Israel’s borders، and the planned withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country.

A Sunday report by the Israel’s Kan public broadcaster said that Israel and the US would offer incentives to Russia at the summit in a bid to curb Iranian influence in Syria، which could include legitimizing the continued leadership of Syria leader Bashar Assad. The report، citing the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat، did not clarify what the other proposals would be.

Moscow is a close ally of Tehran and Damascus، while Jerusalem and Washington are the Islamic Republic’s arch-enemies.

Ben-Shabbat met Bolton in April in Washington، mainly to discuss Iran and “other destabilizing actors،” a senior US administration official said at the time.

Edited by Rabea Yehia

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