Spotlight on Iran (July 7, 2022 – July 21, 2022) – Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
- On July 19, the Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents held a summit in Tehran as part of the Astana talks process regarding the settlement of the war in Syria. During his meeting with the Turkish President, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei warned against further Turkish military actions in northern Syria.
- On July 10, Iranian President Raisi spoke on the phone with Syrian President al-Assad and called for the implementation of the agreements signed by the two countries during the Syrian President’s recent visit to Tehran in May.
- On the eve of President Assad’s visit to the city of Aleppo – for the first time since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising and war – Iran’s consul general in Aleppo paid a visit to the headquarters of a militia pro-Iranian Syrian army in eastern Aleppo. The meeting brought together the commander of the militia, Lebanese Hezbollah commanders and commanders of other pro-Iranian militias in the region.
- Iran has appointed Mojtaba Amini, previously head of the Iranian interests section in Cairo, as its next ambassador to Lebanon.
- Iraqi sources reported that the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Esmail Qa’ani, visited northern Iraq in early July and met with representatives of the two main Kurdish parties to mediate between them and resolve the disagreement. among themselves regarding the appointment of the next Iraqi president.
Iranian involvement in Syria
- On July 19, the Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents held another summit as part of the Astana talks process aimed at settling the war in Syria. During the meeting of the three presidents, Iranian President Raisi declared that Syria’s sovereignty is a “red line” as far as Tehran is concerned. He insisted that the illegal presence of the United States in Syria was the reason for the instability in the country and underlined Iran’s continued support for a political solution in Syria, alongside the persistence of the war. against terrorism. Raisi also condemned the economic sanctions imposed on Syria (Fars, July 19). Alongside the tripartite summit, Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad arrived for a visit to Tehran.
- During his meeting with the Turkish President on the day of the summit, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against any further Turkish military action in Syria. Khamenei stressed the importance of Syria’s territorial integrity and argued that a military operation in northern Syria would harm Turkey, Syria and the region. He pointed out that terrorism must be fought, but military action in Syria will only benefit terrorists. Khamenei expressed Iran’s willingness to cooperate with Turkey to fight terrorist groups in Syria, and added that the Syrian issue should be resolved through talks between Iran, Turkey, Syria and Russia (Fars , July 19).
- On July 10, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke by telephone with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and greeted him on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Raisi called for the implementation of the agreements signed by the two countries during President Assad’s recent visit to Tehran in May. He underlined Iran’s unwavering support for the “axis of resistance”, and in particular Syria, and said that Iran supports peace and stability in the country and opposes any intervention foreigner in Syria. President Assad asserted in his remarks that the enemies of Iran and Syria are getting weaker day by day in their campaign against the “axis of resistance” and that the two countries stand side by side in this fight (ISNA, July 10).
- On July 8, Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, Mehdi Sobhani, met with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Bashar al-Jafari. During the meeting, the two men discussed bilateral relations, regional and international developments.
- Syrian pro-opposition newspaper Ayn al-Furat reported (July 9) that a new training camp for pro-Iranian militias in Syria had been established about two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the town of al-Abbadeh in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus. International airport. According to this report, the erection of the camp took two months and includes a large courtyard used for small arms training, observation posts, an operations room and a room for storing weapons and ammunition. The report also alleged that IRGC commanders visited the camp on July 7.e to inaugurate it and ensure that it is ready to become operational.
- On the night of July 7e and 8e, the Iranian consul in Aleppo, Seyyed Nayab Nouri, arrived for a visit to the headquarters of the pro-Iranian militia Liwaa’ al-Baqr in eastern Aleppo. The meeting, held on the eve of President Assad’s Eid al-Adha visit to Aleppo, was attended by militia commander Khaled al-Marei; the Shiite cleric Ayatollah Eid al-Saheb al-Mousawi; commanders belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah; and commanders of pro-Iranian militias in the region. During the visit, the senior Shia cleric praised Iran and the “axis of resistance”, and the Iranian consul presented al-Marei with a sword of Ali (Zulfiqar) in gift (Syrian TV, July 10, 2008).
- Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia, called on Iran and Russia to prevent Turkey from carrying out its threats to invade areas under the control of its forces in the north of Syria. At a press conference held by Abdi on July 15e, the SDF commander accused the US-led International Coalition of adopting a “weak” position, insufficient to put an end to Ankara’s threats (ISNA, July 16, 2008). Senior Iranian officials have recently underlined Iran’s opposition to Turkish military action in northern Syria.
- On July 16, Iran’s Ambassador to Damascus, Mehdi Sobhani, met with Syrian Culture Minister Lubanah Mshaweh and discussed cultural cooperation between the two countries (ISNA, July 16).
- Mojtaba Amini has been appointed Iran’s new ambassador to Lebanon. Before that, Amini served as head of the Iranian interests section in Cairo. He replaces in his new functions Mohammad Jalal Firouznia, who had been ambassador to Beirut since August 2018. On the eve of his departure for Beirut, Amini met the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, who stressed the need to broaden cooperation between Iran and Lebanon, and the importance of Lebanon in the “axis of resistance” against Israel. Amini pointed out that he intended to cooperate with the Lebanese government and with all political groups and currents in the country (Fars, July 10, 2008).
Iranian involvement in Iraq
- Al-Araby al-Jadid newspaper reported (July 7) that IRGC Quds Force Commander Esmail Qa’ani had arrived for a visit to northern Iraq and held meetings with representatives of the two main Kurdish parties: the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in an effort to mediate between them and resolve the disagreement over the appointment of the next Iraqi president. According to the report, Qa’ani met with PUK leaders in Sulaymaniyah and KDP leaders in Erbil. The report also claims that if the two parties fail to reach an agreement on the identity of the next president of the republic, Qa’ani will ask the members of the Coordination Framework (the bloc of pro-Iranian political currents and militias) to support PUK candidate for President of Iraq. A senior KDP official told al-Araby al-Jadid that Iranian mediation efforts had so far failed. A senior Coordination Framework official, on the other hand, told the newspaper that the results of the Quds Force commander’s mediation efforts would become apparent after the Eid al-Adha break ends.
- On July 18, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian spoke on the phone with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, and discussed bilateral issues and Iraqi mediation efforts between Iran and Saudi Arabia. . Abdollahian expressed his appreciation for Iraq’s efforts to promote regional dialogue and expressed Iran’s willingness to continue consultations with Baghdad to advance bilateral and regional issues (ISNA, July 18).
Iranian involvement in Afghanistan
- On July 17, Iran’s ambassador to Kabul, Bahador Aminian, met with the Taliban government’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi. The two men discussed, among other things, the issue of Afghan refugees in Iran, counter-narcotics operations, border disputes between the two nations and bilateral trade relations. At the meeting, the Iranian ambassador said Afghanistan’s security and stability benefit the entire region. The Taliban’s foreign minister said his country wanted to deepen its ties with Iran, as part of its efforts to become a regional trade hub (Fars, July 17, 2008).