What is Iran’s Position on the Syrian-Turkish Settlement?
As soon as the tripartite meeting of the defense ministers of Syria, Turkey, and Russia was announced in Moscow on December 28, that is, less than a month ago, a huge amount of analyses and predictions flooded the media.
One of the topics that receives great attention in the context of talking about a Syrian-Turkish settlement is the Iranian position on this settlement. In general, Western media outlets, as well as Arab media outlets controlled by the West or is in its orbit, tend to say the following: “Iran has been fooled and excluded from the settlement process, and it is bothered and may work to obstruct it unless it guarantees itself an essential place in it and guarantees the nature of the desired outcomes”.
Those making this argument are basing it on that the tripartite meeting took place in Moscow and was not attended by the Iranian Minister of Defense, and on “leaks” attributed to always unknown sources, especially the kind of sources used by well-known journalists of the yellow type.
What is really surprising, perhaps even amazing, is the extent to which these people underestimate the audience’s intelligence, and the extent to which they adopt the method of outrageous lying, not only by inventing lies, but also by trying to ignore the declared and known facts.
Some attribute the idea of a Syrian-Turkish settlement to the Tehran Summit of the Astana tripartite, which was held on July 19. This is true in principle, but it is not precise, as the idea precedes this summit by many years, at least according to the Russian official discourse. However, it should also be recalled that:
First: The Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, during his visit to Damascus in early July, about two weeks before the Tehran Summit, and in preparation for the summit, stated: “Iran understands Turkish concerns, but it opposes any military action in Syria”. He added: “We are trying to solve the misunderstanding between Syria and Turkey through diplomacy and dialogue”. The Kassioun Political Editor had pondered this statement at the time and expected that proceeding in the Syrian-Turkish settlement process had become a matter agreed upon by the Astana tripartite, and that it would not be long before the practical steps emerge and become facts. That is what actually happened.
Second: On January 13, during his visit to Lebanon, Abdullahian stated the following: “We are happy with the ongoing dialogue between Syria and Turkey, and we believe that it will reflect positively on the two countries”.
Third: On January 14, during his joint press conference with the Syrian Foreign Minister in Damascus, Abdullahian expressed “Iran’s happiness at the success of its contacts with Syria and Turkey in giving preference to dialogue between the two countries”, which is a clear statement. Not only does he express support for this path, but that Iran is an essential and founding part therein. In this sense, it is a continuation of his statement in July about “solving the misunderstanding”, referred to above.
Fourth: On January 17, during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullahian declared that “Iran is grateful for the rapprochement of Turkish-Syrian relations”.
Despite all these statements, Western media outlets (including Arab media affiliated therewith) insist on repeating the same rhetoric about Iran’s “discontent” with the settlement, and Iran’s “exclusion” therefrom. If those who hypothesize that Iran is an essential part of preparing for this settlement, and even of proceeding with it step by step, including by helping to cool down the extremists who are doing their best to obstruct the settlement, have something to rely on, at least from public statements and from logical indications of the timing these statements, then those who say that Iran is disturbed by the settlement do not have any evidence of any kind, except to rely on specific quotes repeated by Western media until they seemed as if they were facts.
However, let’s put aside extreme peremptory opinions that go either way, as we think they are all wrong. There is no doubt that Iran, Turkey, and Russia each have their own view and understanding of their interests, which intersect or do not intersect with the others’ interests.
What is clear about the issue of the Syrian-Turkish settlement, not only based on statements, is that there is a great common interest among the three sides, even if there are partial differences here or there. The major common interest is represented by the following main points:
- The Syrian-Turkish settlement is a means to paralyze the US and Western sanctions, and to paralyze the Western blockade. This will reflect positively on Syria itself and the Syrian people, but also on Iran, Turkey, and Russia, by laying the material foundation for the completion of the continental link of the Belt and Road and the Eurasian.
- The Syrian-Turkish settlement means weakening the American weight in Syria, and in the region in general (and this is what American research centers have now publicly admitted) and laying the foundation for expelling the American from the region and getting rid of its extortion, sabotage, and attrition. This is in the interest of all these sides, and it is also in the interest of key Arab countries that understand this and are dealing with it positively, albeit without explicit declarations.
- The Syrian-Turkish settlement with the progress of the political solution in parallel, will end with time the state of de facto division and will greatly reduce the ability of the Zionist entity to attack Syria. Perhaps more importantly, it means reaching a solution to the Syrian crisis based on a settlement with Turkey, that is, through a path other than the Western one that offers normalization with “Israel” as the “only way out”, which is in reality not a way out at all, but rather an entryway to a longer and bigger nightmare. We say that reaching a settlement without normalization with the Zionist entity means that the entity’s share of the solution will be closer to zero, and that the theoretical weight the entity has today through its repeated aggressions will result in nothing. It will also return the weight of this regional “state” back to being much smaller than the current bubble, especially after the Abraham Accords. If we leave aside all the ideological and intellectual aspects, the regional competition, whether from the Iranian, Turkish, Egyptian, or Saudi point of view, sees deflating the bubble of the Zionist entity as a very beneficial and absolutely necessary matter.
So let us try to answer the following question: “Why does the media insist on saying that Iran is upset?”
It may be related to one or a combination of the following factors:
First: Constantly suggesting Iran’s refusal of the settlement with Turkey gives the extremists, within the regime in particular, margins to play within before the close popular base. If it is understandable that this base is not receptive to rapprochement with Turkey, it still hopes that through it there would be an improvement of the miserable situation and being the disaster to an end. However, if there are suggestions that Iran is against a settlement, this may encourage portions of this base to reject the settlement, so that their rejection will be used in internal balances, as well as in resisting the Astana efforts to push towards a settlement.
Second: This is definitely not the first attempt to say that Russia and Turkey are on one side and Iran is on the other contradictory side within the Astana tripartite. This is despite the fact that time and again facts have proven this is not the case, and that there are undoubtedly differences, but there are also understandings. More importantly, there is an ability to reach understandings and continuously raise their level (and the main credit for that may be due to the US’s foolishness and arrogance, and the depth of its crisis that does not allow it to offer anything to anyone). Portraying the matter as Astana itself being divided between two camps is undoubtedly beneficial for the West. However, perhaps there is more than that, and it is a Zionist dream in particular, that the track of a Syrian-Turkish rapprochement be somehow transformed into a project sponsored by the West, and of course it will be a project with a completely different direction in that case. What is certain is that the dreams of the Zionist will be reduced with time, and after some time might not go beyond its racist walls.
These reasons that we mentioned may not be sufficient to understand the issue, but they are, as we believe, an important part in understanding it.