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MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. Long-term prospects of cooperation not only in the trade and energy sphere, but also in the settlement of the Syrian conflict and other crises in the Middle East are emerging between Moscow and Tehran, experts polled by TASS said following Monday’s talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran Sergey Lavrov and Javad Zarif in Moscow.
Javad Zarif’s visit demonstrates that Russia plays the key role in the implementation of this plan. In particular, the Russian side is tasked with transporting low-enriched uranium from Iran. Apart from that, Russia, which pioneered Iranian nuclear sphere starting with a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, will construct eight more power units in the country. At the meeting in Moscow, the sides confirmed common approaches to the Syrian problem - the Syrian people should decide whether President Bashar Assad should stay or go. Iran, along with other countries in the Middle and Near East, is interested in implementing Russia’s proposal on creating a coalition with regional players to fight the Islamic State terrorist organization.
"Javad Zarif prepared a plan on peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis consisting of several points. He held negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, as the country heads the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, with representatives of Oman. Saudi Arabia, which just recently raised a question of ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad by military means, listens to Tehran’s position. One cannot say that there is consensus there, but positive shifts are obvious," leading research fellow of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Boris Dolgov told TASS.
"Tehran’s role in the Middle East has considerably grown since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program was signed in Vienna. At July’s conference ‘Role of the media in countering terrorism’ in Damascus, the Iranian delegation was met with reverence, and its speeches set the tone for discussions. Let us not forget that Tehran finances Syria’s special services to fight IS terrorist organization," Dolgov said.
At the same time, Boris Dolgov said he doubts the Joint Action Plan on Iranian nuclear program will be implemented fast. "US Congress has not yet approved the deal. It has to make a decision by September 17. Barack Obama is an outgoing president, while presidential candidates view the agreement negatively. Even if it is approved, the step-by-step plan of its implementation will take 10 years, and sanctions against Iran may be reinstated under any pretext. I will also remind that Iran’s Mejlis has not approved the agreement as well," the expert said.
President of the Institute for the Middle East Yevgeny Satanovsky says close cooperation between Russia and Iran in the settlement of the Syrian crisis can be explained by the fact that Tehran is really fighting with IS. "Unlike Middle Eastern countries that only talk about IS threat or support this group by destroying Kurds who are fighting against it, Iran provides substantial financial, economic and oil support to Syrian government forces to resist militants. Without Iranian support, Syria would have already been wiped out from the global map," Satanovsky told TASS.
"Signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program opens great prospects in front of Tehran. Iran has always been a reliable trade and economic partner. The sanctions that were imposed on it destroyed hundreds of lucrative contracts, and many countries are waiting for them [contracts] to be restore," the expert noted. "Russia unblocked many acute angles between Washington and Tehran at talks on Iranian nuclear program. Now it is all up to the Iranian side and how consistently they will implement the agreement," he concluded.
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