Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran and Russia are both interested in eradicating terrorism from Syria as it presents a threat not only to regional states but also to countries beyond the region.
(Sputnik) – Iran and Russia are both interested in eradicating terrorism from Syria as it presents a threat not only to regional states but also to countries beyond the region, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. "I am confident that Russia is interested in bringing peace and a ceasefire [in Syria]," Zarif stressed speaking in New York on Friday. According to the Iranian foreign minister, terrorist groups active in Syria, such as the Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh), present a "serious imminent threat" for regional states, as well as Russia, because terrorists can "pop up" in Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya. Zarif stressed that Iran and Russia are both focused on the common objective of defeating terrorists in Syria. "But as far as Iran and Russia are concerned, we are not competing to play a military role in Syria, obviously nobody wants to do this," Zarif said. Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups, such as Daesh and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (also known as al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra), both of which are banned in Russia and a range of other countries. On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a new plan to regulate the conflict in Syria, which included a new ceasefire that came into force on September 12. However, because of repeated violations of the ceasefire, it was declared ineffective earlier this week. Iran is participating in the work of the joint Moscow-Baghdad anti-Daesh information center, which is tasked with the collection and analysis of data on the situation in the Middle East, particularly on the situation with jihadists in the region. An international US-led coalition of more than 60 nations has been conducting anti-Daesh airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014.