Iran’s Foreign Minister has condemned the Turkish army’s presence in Syria and Iraq. “We reject the Turkish military presence in Syria and Iraq, and we consider Ankara’s policies towards Damascus and Baghdad to be wrong,” Mohammed Javad Zarif told Press TV yesterday.
Turkey and Iran have different regional policies, especially in Syria. Ankara backs some elements of the opposition, while Tehran backs the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and has its own military presence in the country.
Zarif, however, emphasised Iran’s claim that its only goal in Syria is to combat terrorism, a label that it attaches to all opposition groups.
The interview with Zarif focused on US sanctions as well as the talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the latter’s inspection of nuclear sites in the country. Following those talks yesterday, a temporary agreement for three months was drafted which enables the IAEA to continue inspecting sites but on a reduced frequency.
Tehran will also allow the agency to keep its recording equipment and devices within the nuclear sites which will monitor activity, but all footage and access to the recordings will be held by the Iranian government until the US lifts its sanctions on the country.
The minister’s remarks were made on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, spoke to each other on the phone and discussed cooperation in fields such as transport, the economy and security. Erdogan stressed that his government “maintains the necessary will to strengthen Turkish-Iranian relations.”