Ali Akbar Velayati

Iran’s Sacrifices Averted Mideast Disintegration

A senior official said Iran is countering terrorist groups in region, stressing that the country’s sacrifices have averted the risk of Middle East disintegration. “Tehran has ... adopted practical initiatives and fought terrorism and takfiri and extremist movements,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said in an interview with the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper, as cited by Press TV.

He urged “influential countries in the region and all those who attach importance to regional security” to take practical steps in the campaign against terrorism. The Leader’s aide emphasized that regional countries are capable of protecting the region “without the intervention of any foreign power”. Velayati expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate and hold talks with regional countries for realizing common objectives. Pointing to a deal to set up de-escalation zones in Syria, he said any plan or agreement on the war-ravaged country must be first endorsed by the Syrians, as the Syrian people have the right to determine their own fate.

The deal on de-escalation zones was signed by Turkey, Iran and Russia, the three countries behind peace efforts in Syria, during the fourth round of the Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on Thursday. The memorandum took effect at the stroke of midnight local time on Saturday (2100 GMT on Friday). The cosponsors have until June 4 to finalize the zones’ borders. The four safe regions are situated across eight of Syria’s 14 provinces.

The first zone includes the northwestern province of Idlib, the western province of Latakia, the west-central province of Hama and the northern province of Aleppo. The four zones are only safe for the so-called armed opposition factions and exclude terrorist groups of Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Al-Nusra Front.

The deal is the latest effort to resolve the Syrian crisis, which has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people since it broke up in March 2011. Velayati stressed that Iran is duty-bound to establish stability in the region, because this affects international security. “Iran has stood up against terrorists and sent its military advisors to Syria at the request of the country’s legitimate government,

””he said. Iran has been lending military advisory support to Iraq and Syria in the face of foreign-backed terrorists. Commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Ground Force Lieutenant General Mohammad Pakpour said on May 2 the Islamic Republic would dispatch more military advisors to Syria to support the Syrian government and nation in their battle against terrorist groups.

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