Wednesday , 23 January 2019
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY STUART WILLIAMS Iranian Hossein Shariatmadari, director of the hardline Kayhan (Universe) newspaper group for the past 15 years, looks on during an interview with AFP at his office in Tehran, 16 September 2007. Ridiculing the latest US threats against Tehran and advocating the need to expose traitors, Shariatmadari remains one of the most ardent champions of Iran's Islamic system. Appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, few in Iran can match Shariatmadari's authority and revolutionary credentials. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran Will Leave Syria, Iraq Only If Baghdad, Damascus Want It, Aide To Khamenei Says

Radiofarda – A top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday that Iran would immediately withdraw its “military advisers” from Syria and Iraq only if their governments wanted it to.

“Iran and Russia’s presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and America’s aggression … We will immediately leave if Iraqi and Syrian governments want it, not because of Israel and America’s pressure,” said Ali Akbar Velayati in a conference in Moscow.

Iran and Russia back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said that a deal under which Russia would provide goods to Iran in exchange for oil is still possible.

Russia is studying all legal issues related to the possible deal, he said.

(With reporting by Oksana Kobzeva, writing by Parisa Hafezi, Polina Devitt, editing by Larry King, Jason Neely)