Iran’s foreign minister spoke to his Syrian counterpart over the weekend. The goal was to follow up on a recent trip by Iran’s leader to Damascus.
Iran and Syria are close allies and Iran backed Syria’s regime during the civil war in Syria. Iran also sent IRGC officers and soldiers and also sent pro-Iranian militias to Syria. Iran uses Syria to threaten Israel and also to threaten US forces in eastern Syria.
According to the reports in Iranian media and also in pro-Iranian Al-Mayadeen, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad talked about the latest regional developments and the cooperation between Tehran and Damascus.
Iran-Syria ties put into spotlight
The reports were light on details, but clearly, the conversation was designed to show how close Iran’s ties with Syria are.
“Mekdad briefed the Iranian foreign minister on the improvement of Syria’s ties with the Arab countries and the Syrian president’s fruitful participation in the most recent summit of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia,” Iran’s Tasnim news reported.
Iran supports Syria returning to the Arab League. Iran has also reconciled with Saudi Arabia. The Iranian reports noted the importance of Syria returning to the Arab League. Syria and Iran want to increase trade and build on existing ties. This includes work together in the agricultural sector and also energy sectors.
The question this conversation raises is what Iran’s next step may be in Syria.
Iran wants to pressure the US to leave Syria and also to play a role in the election of the next president of Lebanon. It is known that France’s president also spoke to Iran’s president on Saturday and that France is sending a new presidential envoy to Lebanon. At the same time, it is also known that there is pressure on Syria to reduce the illicit drug trade that Damascus profits off of amid sanctions.
It is plausible that the discussions with Syria also focus on Iran’s continued role in Syria and also the shifting Russian position in Syria. Russia is the main backer of Damascus. Iran seeks to use the power vacuum in Syria to bring in its own influence, including moving militias to Syria and using Syria as a base for weapons such as drones and missiles.