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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.