Undermining Sovereignty of States Unacceptable

Undermining Sovereignty of States UnacceptableUndermining Sovereignty of States Unacceptable

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Syrian people should decide their own fate and described as "unacceptable" foreign efforts to undermine sovereignty of regional countries, especially Syria.

The top diplomat made the remarks at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Sunday following their meeting, Fars news agency reported.

During the meeting, the two officials discussed a joint initiative to work out a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Syria, reaffirming that they both oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's stepping down from power.

Stressing the need to find political solutions to crises in the Middle East, Zarif called on regional states to take collective action to help resolve conflicts. "We hold common stances (with Russia) on Syria, and we will continue bilateral talks and interaction (on the issue of Syria) in the future."

Turning to bilateral relations, Zarif hailed Moscow's support for Iran in "difficult times" and said ties between the two countries will for sure improve in the post-sanctions era.

He described as "significant" Russia's role in helping implement the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), saying the Russian Federation is Iran's main partner in the nuclear field.  


*** Moscow's Syria Policy Unchanged

The Russian minister denied rumors spread by the media on the possibility of a change in Russia's stance toward Syria and said the Kremlin has always believed the Syrian people need to decide their destiny without any foreign intervention or preconditions.

"We still believe… problems need to be solved by holding direct negotiations between the Syrian government and opposing groups," he noted.

Lavrov called on the opposing factions to form a unified body, representing all opponents, who would later sit at the negotiation table in a "constructive" manner, without setting preconditions.

He appealed to other countries to stop interfering in decision-making for Syria, asking them to try and facilitate the settlement of the crisis.   

The top Russian diplomat described as "friendly" and "warm" his talks with Zarif, noting that his country has especially considered expansion of commercial ties with the Islamic Republic.

Reiterating Moscow's support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is formally known, Lavrov said Russia is satisfied with the contents of the accord. He also expressed hope that the nuclear settlement would help eliminate the barriers for economic cooperation between the two sides.

In addition, Lavrov said Zarif had invited him to visit Tehran and expressed pleasure about the invitation.