Experts: Russia's common interests with Iran compel it to support al-Assad's regime

Experts: Russia's common interests with Iran compel it to support al-Assad's regime

Azerbaijan, Baku, Aug. 20 / Trend, A. Tagiyeva/

Russia 's statement that Moscow would not support calls of the West for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is dictated by the presence of common interest between Russia and Iran in the preservation of the Assad regime, experts say.

Russia does not support calls for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which were made by several EU countries and the United States, Russia's Foreign Ministry reported on Friday.
"Our position on the events occurring in Syria is that the leadership of this country gained enough time to implement the declared major program of reforms," the document says.

The political rapprochement that is observed recently between Russia and Iran has led to the fact that these two countries began to make decisions regarding the region in consent with each other, said Arabic political analyst Saleh Ahtalan.

"At this point, we are observing how Iran is trying to find a strategic ally in the face of Russia, which would help Tehran implement its plans in the region," Ahtalan told Trend by telephone from Riyadh.

According to the expert, Russia's decision to "give a chance to al-Assad" is dictated by Iran, as exactly before it, some kind of rapprochement was observed between Iran and Russia.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made an official visit to Iran at the invitation of Saeed Jalili on Aug. 15. During his visit, the Russian representative met with Jalili, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials.

At Patrushev's meeting with Foreign Minister of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian official expressed confidence that having a "strong and independent neighbor in the face of Iran will bring benefits to Russia".

"Our countries should seek to further strengthen and deepen relations," said the Iranian minister. Salehi hailed the "steps taken by Russia recently towards rapprochement with Iran", which is "an obvious sign of strengthening bilateral relations".

According to the head of the Arab-Iranian Center for Strategic Studies, based in London, Aliriza Nourizadeh, the common interests of both Russia and Iran in the region have brought closer these countries. Russia, which after the changes in the Middle East is gradually losing its position in the region, can not be deprived of such an ally and partner as Syria, he said.

"Al-Assad's regime meets Russia's interests. Under this regime, Russia has economic partnership with Syria, and through Syria, with other Arab countries. Losing Damascus for Russia means losing a strong economic partner in the Middle East," Nourizadeh told Trend by telephone from London.

As for Iran, according to expert, Tehran can not lose Damascus - the main ally in the region, which is also a key to the region's Shiites and organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Based on these facts, Nourizadeh said that Iran and Russia agreed upon common interests regarding the preservation of al-Assad's power.
However, according to Nourizadeh, it is possible that Russia may give up supporting President al-Assad in case of reaching an agreement with the West, particularly the United States.

Mass protests in Syria began in mid March in Dera'a in the country's south, and then spread to other regions. According to the Syrian human rights defenders, the clashes with the security forces killed over 1,600 people.

According to official data, about 500 soldiers and members of security forces were killed since the events as a result of actions of "armed terrorist elements"

On Thursday, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton stated on behalf of the European Union that Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and called on him to resign. Ashton also said that the EU is preparing a new package of sanctions against the Syrian leadership. The EU was supported by France, Germany, Britain and Spain.

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