The Iranian government claimed Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “soon” head to Tehran to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the status of Syria’s civil war.
Iran’s state-run Mehr News agency reported on Friday that Ali-Akbar Velayati, Senior Aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “Putin said that he will go to Tehran soon to take part in [Turkey-Iran-Russia] meeting on Syria.”
Velayati made the announcement on Thursday after meeting with Putin in Moscow.
Khamenei’s senior aide called the dialogue between Tehran and Moscow “constructive, clear, and friendly.”
According to Turkey’s state-run Andalou Agency, Velayati’s meeting with Putin “has become the subject of debate in Iran” among Iranians. The publication noted, “Although Velayati has no official role in Iran’s Foreign Ministry, he is widely regarded as Khamenei’s second most trusted advisor on Syria after Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force.”
In addition to talk about Syria on Thursday, Velayati said Putin announced that Moscow plans to invest up to $50 billion in the Islamic Republic’s oil and gas sector, and noted that Russian firms could replace Western oil companies that have left or are leaving Iran to comply with America’s demands that nations stop importing Iranian oil by November 4 or face sanctions.
According to Russian state news outlet RT, Velayati also delivered messages from Khamenei and from President Hassan Rouhani to Putin.
In November 2015, Putin visited Iran for the first time in eight years to discuss the Syrian conflict.
In April, Iran, Russia, and Turkey held trilateral talks in Ankara, where they strategized about Syria’s future after the United States announced it would slowly phase out its presence there. Despite his reluctance to do so, President Donald Trump agreed to keep roughly 2,000 troops in Syria until the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) terrorist group is completely defeated.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the southern region of Syria on Tuesday that killed and wounded at least 50 of what the terrorist group described as “Crusader Russian Forces” and “the Apostate Nusayri Army.” Nusayri is reportedly a derogatory term used to refer to Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s soldiers.
The jihadist terrorist group still poses a great risk to parts of Syria’s population.
Also on Tuesday, the Maghawir al-Thowra reportedly detained 11 Islamic State fighters inside the deconfliction zone in southern Syria.
“This is evidence of our partner forces’ effectiveness in the fight,” Army Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve,” said, according to the Department of Defense. “As [ISIS’] movement from southwest Syria continues, our partners will interdict and disrupt these forces to ensure the defeat of [ISIS] in the region.”
This week, the Andalou Agency also suggested that Putin’s recent meetings with Trump have drawn suspicion from “much of the Iranian public … especially in terms of Syria.” The publication wrote, “Putin’s recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump have only exacerbated these suspicions.”