News / Middle East

Iran Keeps Low Profile in Syria Diplomacy

Iran Keeps Low Profile in Syria Diplomacyi
X
September 18, 2013 1:58 PM
Syria’s main ally, Russia, has taken on a central role in the effort to get President Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons. But his key regional ally, Iran, has kept a lower profile. As VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London, experts say the Syria conflict is a challenge for Iran, but it may be able to turn the new diplomatic approach to its advantage.
Iran Keeps Low Profile in Syria Diplomacy
Al Pessin
Syria’s main ally, Russia, has taken on a central role in the effort to get President Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons.  But his key regional ally, Iran, has kept a lower profile.  Experts say the Syria conflict is a challenge for Iran, but it may be able to turn the new diplomatic approach to its advantage.
 
The presidents of Syria’s two top allies met last week, and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, took the opportunity to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new role on Syria.
 
He expressed hope that Russian diplomacy will avert what he called “a new war,” an apparent reference to threatened U.S. airstrikes.
 
Iran may have good reason to welcome any easing of tensions on Syria, according to Iran watcher Mark Fitzpatrick at London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.
 
“As much as Syria is a complicated problem for Western nations, it’s immensely more complicated for Iran," noted Fitzpatrick. " I think that in many ways, Syria is becoming like Vietnam for Iran, a mess that they’re stuck in and they can’t get out of.”
 
Exiled Iranian journalist Amir Taheri calls that “an exaggeration,” but said Iran has invested significant resources in Syria for what he said are ideological reasons.
 
“The problem is Iran is a split personality," he explained. "Iran as a revolution has an interest in Syria.  Iran as a country doesn’t have any interest in Syria.  Rouhani wants to make Iran a country again.”
 
Western leaders hope President Rouhani will take a more constructive approach in talks on Iran’s nuclear program, and the new head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency has said as much.
 
"I've come here with a message of my newly elected president to further enhance and expand our ongoing cooperation with the agency and with the aim to put an end to the so-called Iranian nuclear file," remarked Ali Akbar Salehi during a speech to the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency.
 
Fitzpatrick said President Rouhani may want to use a hoped-for Syria peace conference to improve relations with the West, and to enhance his role in Iran’s foreign policy.
 
“The best case for Iran is probably if Iran can be invited to Geneva Two, and that Rouhani’s hand can be strengthened because he can talk to the United States about issues that matter to Iran, not just the nuclear issue that matters to the United States,” he said.
 
But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would need to back the plan.  And Amir Taheri does not expect that to happen.
 
“Mr. Khamenei, who is the supreme guy, is very much committed to preventing President Assad from falling," Taheri said. "But the real issue is who will reshape the Middle East, the United States and its allies or Iran and its allies? And for the time being, the side on which Iran fights has won.”  
 
Taheri said that will make Ayatollah Khamenei less interested in compromise with the West, and may cancel out any effort by President Rouhani to use the Syria issue to push a more moderate agenda. 

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More