In an extensive interview published by the Mehr news agency, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said that Tehran would continue providing assistance to Syria as long as Damascus needs its help in fighting terror.
“We reject interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and of course we do not allow anyone to interfere in our internal affairs. So, at the request of the governments of Iraq and Syria, we went to these countries and fought Daesh* and Nusra Front [Jabhat Fatah al-Sham]”, he said.
The senior official noted that instead of “exporting terrorism to Syria”, Western nations should let the Syrian people decide their future.
Shamkhani’s wide-ranging interview was published the same day that Israel announced it had conducted a second air raid against alleged Iranian targets in Syria in two days.
The airstrikes were carried out in response to a rocket fired from Syria at the disputed Golan Heights. The IDF claimed that the Iron Dome air defence system had intercepted the missile.
The Russian military later stated that Syrian air defences had shot down over 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs while repelling the attack. As a result of the strike, four Syrian servicemen were killed, while 6 others sustained injuries.
Israel has on a multitude of occasions expressed concern over Iran’s alleged military presence in Syria, while Tehran has consistently emphasised that it has only been providing military advisers to Syria to help it fight against terrorism.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/ISIL/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.