NEW YORK, October 7. /TASS/. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has refuted reports that Iran redeployed to Syria its army units for participation in hostilities. He made a statement to this effect in an interview with the New Yorker magazine published on Wednesday. According to the Iran’s top diplomat, there are only Iranian military advisers in Syria who provide advice to the Syrian government forces.
Answering a question about the alleged redeployment of Iranian troops, he said, "Wrong. We haven’t changed the nature of our presence in Syria. It continues to be military advisers, and no more. Actually, I checked, and I made sure that this was the case."
Zarif supported Russia’s air strikes on extremists’ positions in Syria. However, he was critical of the Western coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group. Referring to the Russian air strikes in Syria, he said, "We support anybody’s involvement against Daesh [Islamic State], provided that it’s serious."
"The problem with the international coalition was that it was never serious, because it had political inhibitions against hitting Daesh, because they believe that hitting Daesh before they have a solution for Bashar al-Assad would help Bashar," the Iranian foreign minister went on to say. "So there is just a show going on, and that is why the ability of Daesh has not even been dented over the past year."
At the same time, Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced confidence that the Russian air strikes would contribute to the destruction of terrorist groups and the subsequent search for political solutions to the Syrian crisis.