In an unannounced visit, the first since the eruption of Syrian revolution on March 15, 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid a visit to Tehran on Monday morning and met Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani . The visit is the first by Assad to Tehran since 2010, and comes weeks after the two countries signed a long-term economic cooperation agreement, including several sectors, notably oil, electric power, agriculture and the banking sector.
In this meeting, al-Murshid said “Syria has emerged victorious in the face of a large alliance between America and Europe and their allies in the region”, stressing that Iran will continue to support Syria, and that it “proud of this.” He also said that the two countries are “strategic depth for each other in which they prevent enemies to execute their schemes , “.
Khamenei added that “the safe area that the Americans want to establish in Syria is a dangerous plot, which must be dealt with strongly,” pointing out that “America plans to have an influential presence on the Iraqi-Syrian border.” He stressed that “the doctrine relations and mutual visits of religious scholars of Iran and Syria should be developed ” , he added praising President Assad : You are the hero of the Arab world because of your steadfastness ” , on his part , Bashar al-Assad thanked Iran for its support to its regime over the past years, saying that the efforts of the United States of America in Syria had failed, and that” it came with opposite results , “stressing to strengthen relations between Iran and Syria to undermine the plots of enemies . Assad said that” doctrine relations, such as communication between Syrian and Iranian religious scholars, constitute an important opportunity to confront the Takfiri currents, “calling also for” the development of economic relations between the two countries. ”
The visit has raised many questions in terms of timing and reasons. Observers considered Assad’s visit to be part of a common Syrian-Iranian need to reinforce the intimate relationship between the Iranian and Syrian regimes. They said that Iran sends through its receiving Assad a message abroad about its influence in Syria, and it sends another signal to the Russian ally about Iran’s position within the Syrian regime’s political map.
Syrian opposition politicians considered it an attempt to take refuge in Iran, amid talk of Russia’s intention to change it in line with international understandings. A member of the political body of the Syrian opposition coalition said, Assad can not get out of the Russian aba (cloak), but tried on his recent visit to Tehran to take refuge in the Iranian embrace to a void Russian desire to change him in accordance with international requirements. They also considered that the visit came in a natural context after being summoned by Iran in order to gain more gains, adding that it would be a prelude to planting more strife in Syria, which is funded by Iran and its militias on a sectarian basis. For his part, , the official of the media department in the coalition , Ahmed Ramadhan see that Tehran by bringing Assad , wanted to send messages to regional and international parties, at a moment when it seems closer to confrontation with the United States and the West.
He pointed out that the Iranian leadership is displeased with Russia after it showed some kind of willingness to conclude a deal with Washington or Ankara on Syria, Idlib and East Euphrates, and worried about the movements of the US military and economic sanctions, especially after the Warsaw Conference, and unconvinced of the positions of Europe’s positions which seem to be reluctant to make practical proposals that justify Iran’s stay in the nuclear deal. He said that Assad’s first trip during the revolution to Tehran was part of his speech, in which he criticized Astana and Sochi. He appeared to be speaking with an Iranian accent, criticizing Turkey clearly and Russia in a padded way. He turned away from the requirements of negotiations and the political process, thus giving a clear indication that he had settled his choice of bias toward Iran and announced that publicly.
For his part, Yahya al-Aridi underestimated the importance of the visit and said that the two sides were “defeated.” Assad is no longer able to send political messages to the world. He no longer has the will, so the Iranian side wanted to send messages that Bashar al-Assad was under control and no part can bring him toward it under the banner that it wants to rehabilitate him on condition to disengage him from Tehran al-Aridi see “Assad’s visit to Tehran can not be isolated from a close visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow, as it came at a time when Russia deliberately leaked its ugly image at the Russian base Hamim .
Observers for Syrian affairs said that Assad’s visit to Iran was similar to the visits the Syrian president had made to Russia in terms of its secrecy and symbolism for the host country. They saw that the visit to Tehran had an Iranian content similar to the Russian content of Assad’s repeated meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin , Pointing out that Assad’s visit to Tehran confirms the dependence of the decision in Damascus to the Iranian and Russian allies and the absence of any independent stature for the regime in Damascus. Arab observers believe that Assad’s visit to Tehran at this time comes in response to any Arab reliance on the possibility of the Syrian regime abandoning its relationship with Iran.
Whatever the connection , or not, between Zarif’s resignation and Assad’s visit to Tehran , the official pictures of receiving Syrian regim’s president showed the absence of Zarif , a man of diplomacy and politics , in exchange of the presence Qasem Soleimani , a man of the Quds Force and the war . O! would that if the Syrian regime knew of the absence of the only sovereign symbol during President al-Assad’s rare visit to Iran and Russia , the two countries that promised to save his regime through direct military intervention , as by coincidence , Moscow has leaked new photographs of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Syrian base of Hamim , in the late of 2017 , in which Assad appears in a remote back area with a Russian officer . It is therefore funny that Assad asked the governments of the region to stop obeying the will of external forces , speaking from Tehran who handed over to its Revolutionary Guard and its militias the keys of the invasion of Syria , invading its territory , tampering with its national unity and violating its cultural specifications .And it remains that the visit was an eloquent lesson for regimes seeking normalization with Assad regime and reopening of its embassies in Damascus under the pretext of cutting the road to Iranian influence in Syria . Here it is also a suitable occasion to reveal the deceptive appearances and discovering facts.
Arab Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies