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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid