Despite Iran’s participation with Russia and Turkey in managing the Astana track, which the three countries consider pivotal to coordinate their operations and interests in Syria, both Ankara and Moscow have ignored the Iranian role in the steps of Turkish rapprochement with the Syrian regime, especially since Tehran is one of the main countries of influence on Syrian territory.
Contrary to the usual occasions of normalization of countries’ relations with the Syrian regime, official Iranian statements regarding the Turkish rapprochement with Damascus were absent, as if Tehran was not interested in this remarkable development in the Syrian arena. This confirmed speculation about Iran’s disregard for the Moscow meeting, while some Iranian voices attacked the Syrian regime, accusing it of circumventing those who supported it and kept it in power.
Iranian concern over Turkey’s rapprochement with the Syrian regime
Perhaps the only voice that tried to remedy Iran’s absence from the scene of the Syrian event came from Turkey. The deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey, Orhan Miroglu, said that contacts between Turkey and the Syrian regime will continue in 2023. He noted that Iran, which did not participate in the Moscow meeting, “will be given a seat at the table,” while Russia did not issue any statement on Iran.
However, the Turkish correction did not reassure Tehran that it would be part of the new alliance if it took place. The Iranian media attacked the Turkish rapprochement with the Syrian regime, wondering about the reliability of Ankara’s promises to withdraw from Syria. People affiliated with the hardline currents in Iran called for “waiting until it becomes clear what direction the situation will lead to.
A few days after the announcement of the Moscow meeting, which brought together the defense ministers of Turkey, Russia and the Syrian regime, Iranian media close to the reformist movement expressed concern about the meeting, considering that the Moscow meeting is “a new tripartite parallel to the Astana track, and can compete, and even replace, the track.”
Regime stresses Iran’s role in any ‘political initiative’
In a remarkable and accelerated development over the past two days, statements and initiatives have emerged from the Syrian regime, emphasizing Iran’s “important role” in Syria and the high coordination between Damascus and Tehran at various levels.
The Syrian regime’s Foreign Minister, Faisal al-Mekdad, confirmed to his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, in a phone call between them on Monday, that “it is necessary for Iran to play a role in any political initiative in Syria,” praising “the effective Iranian role to help settle the Syrian crisis.”
For his part, Abdollahian stressed “the importance of continuing coordination and consultation between the two countries on various issues.” He asserted the importance of maintaining the continuous push of bilateral relations, and consulting on various developments and events.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.