In an October 30, 2015 interview with the Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, Hossein Sheikholislam, an advisor to Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, who is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said that Tehran would continue defending the Assad regime. He stressed that Iran is coming to the Vienna talks about Syria as the “victorious” party, and that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will conduct himself in a manner “befitting the blood [shed by] the Iranian martyrs in Syria.” Sheikholislam added that Iran is not negotiating with the U.S. on Syria (in line with Khamenei’s orders), and that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which are the defeated parties, are not qualified to participate in negotiations about Syria’s future because they are the chief supporters of the terrorism there.
Sheikholislam also stated that certain Middle East countries – those who for the last five years have supported the ISIS terrorism – recently conveyed messages to Tehran that it should accept Assad’s fall as part of a transfer of power in Syria, but Tehran rejected this. He stressed that only the people of Syria and Yemen can decide their own destiny, and that the leaders of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and France cannot take their place.
The following are the main points of Sheikholislam’s interview:
“Those who for 5 years have been supporting the ISIS terrorists [in their attempt] to capture Syria are now [acting] like fools and offering us to come negotiate about Syria. Some officials in the region whose name I will not mention sent us official messages [calling upon us] to accept the fall of Assad’s government as part of a transition of power in Syria, [but] we said we do not interfere in the affairs of other countries, based on our constitution, [and that] we will defend the Syrian government and nation against the terrorists.
“It is foolish [of them] to come to make deals regarding Syria and Yemen. The Saudis have been defeated in Yemen and Syria. Only the Syrians can decide their destiny, not the Turkish prime minister, the kings of Qatar or Saudi Arabia, the American president or the French prime minister, who want to take the place of the Syrian and Yemeni people.