Assad stronger than before: Velayati

TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (MNA) – Veteran Iranian diplomat Ali Akbar Velayati touched upon the latest developments of the Middle East in his interview with Lebanese daily.        

The extremist militias and terrorists have guised behind Saudi Arabia and live on the money provided by Saudi regime and it is not acceptable for the public opinion, said Head of Strategic Research CenterAli Akbar Velayati in his latest interview with the leading Lebanese daily As-Safir.

The former Iranian Foreign Minister voiced unconcern over the anti-Iran measures saying that ‘it is the price to be paid for independence, as you can see how freely Iranian officials can criticize the US or Israeli regime; something impossible to be found in Islamic or third world countries.’

"Iran is a great country with great military and defene power; It also benefits from enormous gas and oil reserves; Iran is the greatest power of the region due to its power and independence," he said.

Considering the regional issues and crises in countries like Syria and Iraq, Velayati emphasized that Iran will continue its support for them as well as lebanon and Palestine, adding "the future of the region belongs to countries of the region and Iran is the backbone of region's stability."

When he was asked about his trip to China, the veteran diplomat answered that he is invited by the Chinese to meet them in the second week in December to discuss the Silk Road connecting the Far East to the West passing through the Middle East and Iran.

Recounting the volume of Iran-China trade, Velayati called China a strategic partner of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

For the information of the Americans and their European allies, there is a strategic tie between Iran, China, and Russia and lately Syria has joined this axis and if agreed by Iraqi government, Iraqis will be the next member of this cooperation.

The official also boasted the progress made in Iranian universities and academic centers despite all anti-Iran sanctions and discriminatory behaviors.

‘It is futile,’ velayati described the joint Saudi-US effort in lowering oil price to pose pressure on Iran and Russia and reassured that the state budget of the Islamic Republic is not anymore dependent on oil as it was in the past.

Lamenting that Turkey supported terrorists to topple Assad, Velayati held that however, Iran kept its friendly ties with Turkey although disagreed upon the case of Syria.

If we had abandoned Syrians, Damascus had surely fallen to terrorists and it would have got into a trouble worse than what Libya is wrestling with, affirmed Velayati.

They intended to divide Syria into five smaller countries, and disintegrate Iraq into three countries but we disagreed and will stand against it, he continued.

The Iranian veteran diplomat asserted that the same kind of support is provided for Yemenis and stressed that Iran is the forming spine of the Middle East.

The interview came on page 8 of the November 19, 2015 issue of the paper.

YNG / 2972407


News Code 112103


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