Trump-Putin Deal on Syria Indicates Tactical Shift

Kamal DehqaniKamal Dehqani

Lawmakers said the newly-struck truce deal between Russia and the US on Syria confirms the correctness of Kremlin's approach regarding the Arab country, adding that there is no military solution to the years-long devastating war.

Kamal Dehqani, deputy chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said while Iran, Russia and Turkey had stressed the importance of political talks, the US believed that the only solution to end the Syrian crisis was military intervention.

"This deal shows that now even Trump has come to the conclusion that the only way out of this crisis is through the path of negotiations," he said.

The United States, Russia and Jordan reached a deal on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria on July 7 after US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ended their hotly-anticipated first encounter on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. The deal went into effect on July 9.

Prior to the deal, Russia and Iran, which back President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the war, and Turkey, a supporter of opposition forces, signed an agreement on May 4 on setting up four "de-escalation zones".

The trio has held five rounds of talks, with the sixth slated for the last week of August in the Kazakh capital Astana to find a mechanism to delineate the zones.

The zones—where aerial bombardments are supposed to stop—have ushered in a marked decrease in fighting on the ground, but some issues need to be resolved.

Dehqani rejected the stances of countries believing that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down, saying that "Iran and Russia have always tried to solve the crisis through dialogue and believe that adding fuel to the fire in Syria is wrong".

  US Not Entirely Trustworthy

Lawmaker Ali Akbari said Iran would welcome any decision leading to a reduction in casualties and the return of the displaced to their homes. "But the US has shown that they are after safeguarding their own interests here," he warned, adding that "the US [adherence to the deal] must be monitored."

"The US president has sought only financial interests. He would only head where he could reap benefits," the parliamentarian said in a direct jab at Trump who has changed positions regarding the Syrian conflict ever since he launched his convention-busting White House bid. Trump ordered the firing of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian military target in April in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces on civilians, which was vehemently denied by Damascus.

According to the Time magazine, Trump had said 18 times that the US should not attack Syria when he was running for president.

"We should stay the hell out of Syria; the 'rebels' are just as bad as the current regime. What will we get for our lives and $ billions? Zero," Trump tweeted at the time.

Many analysts believe he changed his stance regarding Syria to please Saudi Arabia, which later signed arms deals worth billions of dollars with Trump.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iranian Parliament speaker's special advisor on international affairs, said "the redefining of Syrian case in the White House under the current circumstances is rather a change in tactic, but the aims are still the same".

In a meeting with Syrian Ambassador Adnan Mahmoud on Saturday, Amir-Abdollahian said, "Iran has always stressed the need to find a negotiated solution for the Syrian crisis."

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