Iran-Russia-Turkey Coop. Can Help Restore ME Peace

Iran-Russia-Turkey Coop. Can Help Restore ME Peace Iran-Russia-Turkey Coop. Can Help Restore ME Peace

A lawmaker said trilateral cooperation among Iran, Russia and Turkey can help promote security in the Middle East, particularly through their coordination aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict.

Speaking in an interview with ICANA on Saturday, Ali Najafi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Tehran welcomes any mechanism that can be of help in converging opinions of regional countries on how to handle the region's security challenges.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran believes in the need for settling regional issues with the help of regional countries and without outside powers' interference," he said.

Najafi said if Turkey can make changes in its policy on Syria, one can be optimistic about a strategic regional cooperation that helps restore peace.

The lawmaker was referring to media speculations about the possibility of a trilateral coordination among the three countries on the Syrian conflict, which surfaced after the recent detente between Turkey and Russia.

This Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Saint Petersburg, a sign of normalization of relations that soured after the shooting down of a Russian warplane during an anti-terror mission near Syria-Turkey border by a Turkish jet last November.

The visit came weeks after the Kremlin said Putin had received a letter from Erdogan, in which he apologized to his Russian counterpart over the incident, following which Putin and Erdogan held a telephone conversation late June.

  Closer Tehran-Ankara Contact

Speculations grew with the Friday trip of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Turkey.

At a joint news conference in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Iranian counterpart said the two neighboring nations have agreed to "keep closer contact" on the issue of the "territorial integrity of Syria".

Despite the differences, Turkey and Iran will "strengthen cooperation for a lasting peace in Syria", Cavusoglu said.

Zarif said Iran was "ready to work and cooperate" with Turkey and Russia on the issue of Syria, adding that it welcomed "the new cooperation that has started" between Moscow and Ankara.

Syria has been the scene of a five-year standoff between militants fighting to topple the government and defeat the army.

Some western powers and regional states, notably the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have been backing militants to bring down the government, while Iran and Russia have been insisting no outside power can decide for Syria and assisting the Syrian government in its fight against armed opponents, including the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front).