Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said today that the withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria was "not up for discussion", Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV reported.
"Whether Iranian forces or Hezbollah withdraw or stay in Syria is not up for discussion because it's the [business] of the Syrian government," the channel cited him as saying.
Washington has demanded Iran make sweeping changes – from dropping its nuclear programme to pulling out of the Syrian conflict – or face severe economic sanctions. Critics have said this is an attempt to force regime change in the Islamic Republic.
Mekdad continued that his forces, with the help of their allies, could now move north or south to crush opposition forces around the capital.
"After ending the direct terrorist danger to Damascus, the door is open to heading north or south," the channel quoted the official saying.