Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Assad speaks with Iran's president, who affirms support

Assad speaks with Iran's president, who affirms support

The Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian backers have vowed to keep up the fight against "terrorists" despite threats of further U.S. strikes against the regime following the chemical attack.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday condemned as "flagrant US aggression on Syria" a USA missile strike on a on a Syrian air base this week and criticised Gulf Arab states for supporting it, state television reported.

"This man who is now in office in America claimed that he wanted to fight terrorism but today all terrorists in Syria are celebrating the U.S. attack", Rouhani said in a speech aired by state television.

The Kremlin said in a statement Rouhani also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone.

The Iranian President said that this aggression constitutes a "blatant violation of the Syrian sovereignty and all the global laws and conventions", the agency said.

He also told Tillerson that assertions that the Syrian military used chemical weapon in Idlib province on April 4 do not correspond to reality, the ministry added. "They are repeating offense of their predecessors", Khamenei was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

"You pick and choose your battles and when we're looking at this, it's about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out", Haley had said on March 30, just days before dozens of Syrian civilians died from chemical weapons injuries.

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But the cancellation of tomorrow's meeting, which came after discussions with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, led to him being criticised as "Washington's poodle", an attack dismissed by the Foreign Office. The strike was the first time American forces targeted a Syrian government installation in the course of the war.

USA president Donald Trump ordered a strike by 59 cruise missiles on the base he said launched the attack in America's first direct attack against the Syrian government.

But the move makes the foreign secretary look like "some sort of mini-me" who can not be trusted to hold his own talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, according to the SNP's foreign affairs spokesman.

"If Russia wants to be absolved of responsibility for future attacks, Vladimir Putin needs to enforce commitments, to dismantle Assad's chemical weapons arsenal for good, and to get fully engaged with the United Nations peacekeeping progress".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday played down concerns of a rift with Russian Federation over Ankara's support for the strike, saying Turkey was committed to the cease-fire mechanisms it has developed with Russian Federation for Syria.

Syria's government has denied responsibility.

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