16:15 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Syrian flags bearing the portrait of President Bashar al-Assad are displayed at the Hamidiyeh popular market in the old part of the capital Damascus on June 13, 2016

    EU Faces Calls to Persuade Russia, Iran to Help Get Rid of Assad

    © AFP 2019 / LOUAI BESHARA
    Middle East
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    A prominent international think-tank is urging the EU to avoid aggravating relations with Russia and Iran, but instead use diplomacy to persuade the two nations to focus their efforts on dealing with violence in Syria.

    According to a report recently released by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a proper approach to a dialogue with Moscow and Tehran may afford Brussels a chance to make Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down from the political arena.

    The report’s author claims that the EU authorities should not try and drive a wedge between Russia and Iran because the regime change in Syria can only be made possible via the cooperation between these two nations, and that Moscow or Tehran alone would never be able to help Brussels achieve this goal.
    However, Mahmoud Shoori, head of the Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic Research in Tehran, told Sputnik that this approach is doomed to fail.

    "After several years of close cooperation in this area, Russia and Iran share a similar stance on Syria because our countries have mutual interests. Furthermore, both Moscow and Tehran are well aware of the kind of attitude the West has regarding President Bashar Assad and the methods employed to fight terrorism and violence in the region. Therefore, I believe that any attempts by the EU to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, or to change our nations’ stances on Syria won’t be effective," Shoori said.

    At the same time, he pointed out that both Iran and Russia would consider the inclusion of more countries and powers into the fight against terrorism a welcome development, as this issue must be tackled on a global level.

    "The differences in stances adopted by the West and by the Russian-Iranian alliance regarding Syria cannot be ignored, especially concerning the fate of Bashar Assad whom Moscow and Tehran consider a legal president of the Syrian Arab Republic elected by his people. Furthermore, both Russia and Iran firmly believe that President Bashar Assad and his government are a vital element of the ongoing fight against terrorists. The West however has other ideas. In any case, neither Moscow nor Tehran intend to wait and see if the EU changes its opinion on this matter. The relations between Russia and Iran have already reached such a high level that a third party won’t be able to influence them," Shoori concluded.


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    prospects, regime change, diplomacy, soft power, European Council on Foreign Relations, European Union, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, Russia, Europe
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