BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – Moscow has responded to former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s claims about Russia not needing Iran in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed Bolton’s claims, saying that President Vladimir Putin is not in the habit of discussing such matters behind his partners’ back.
“[Bolton] had no grounds to quote President Putin because Putin has never said anything of the kind,” Lavrov told a news conference after talks with his visiting Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as quoted by the Tass News Agency.
“It is against our traditions and principles, the more so it is against President Putin’s principles, to discuss such things behind the back of our partners, We are tightly cooperating with Turkey and Iran in Syria,” he continued.
“I’s refrain from commenting on the habit of American retired officials to write memoirs in such a way that entails litigations and lawsuits,” he noted. “Probably, it is part of what can be called a specific political culture had it not been a quite different thing than what we typically call culture.”
Zarif, in turn, stressed that Teheran doesn’t believe Bolton either. “We think it has nothing to do with the real state of things and the level of cooperation Iran maintains with Russia and Turkey in the interests of peace, stability and accord in Syria,” he said, adding that such stories were obviously meant to heighten interest to the book.
Iran plays a major role in Syria, especially along the Iraqi and Lebanese borders, where they work with Hezbollah (Lebanon) and the Popular Mobilization Units (Iraq) to secure the areas.
Without coordination with Iran, Russia would have great difficulty trying to coordinate with the forces along these borders.