US presence in Syria has nothing to do with fighting ISIL at all: FM Zarif

TEHRAN, Dec. 24 (MNA) – Iran's foreign minister has said the presence of the United States in Syria was illegitimate since the very beginning, adding that Turkey needs to coordinate with the Syrian government before conducting any military operation.

"We do not have enough information on US plans in Syria to announce our specific position on [withdrawal of its troops]," Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen on Monday.

Zarif added “the United States has not fought the ISIL at all and its presence in Syria is not in line with the interests of the Syrian people or has not been with the consent of the government of the country.”

Referring to the Turkish government’s plans to conduct operations inside Syria once again, the Iranian foreign minister said “we understand Turkey's concerns about terrorist operations [but] any military action must be carried out in coordination with the Syrian government. We have always said to our Turkish brothers that the operation against terrorism would not help resolving the crisis without securing Damascus’s consent.”

Iran's Foreign Minister also touched upon Yemen issue, saying that the Saudis have spent tens of billions on Yemen but they have achieved nothing. 

He further stated that Iran is ready for ‘collective security’ in the region and does not want divisions among regional countries.

Elsewhere, the Iranian top diplomat said that the Europeans are ‘slow’ in fulfilling their nuclear commitments.

 “We are not going to wait until they take practical steps,” Iran's foreign ministry noted, adding “after the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, we have several options, and if our national interests compel us, we will use them.”

KI/4494320

News Code 140848

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