Zarif, Lavrov dismiss Bolton’s allegations about Syria

TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have reacted to allegations by former US presidential advisor John Bolton on Iran-Russia cooperation in Syrian peace process.

Referring to the allegations voiced by Bolton in his book ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir’, Zarif stressed on Tuesday that Tehran does not believe such comments.

“We think it has nothing to do with the real state of things and the level of cooperation Iran maintains with Russia and Turkey in the interests of peace, stability and accord in Syria,” he said, adding that such stories were obviously meant to heighten interest to the book.

“But no one would ever believe these words either in Moscow or in Tehran,” he stressed.

Lavrov, in turn, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could have never said that Moscow doesn’t need Iran in Syria because he is not in the habit of discussing such matters behind his partners’ back.

“[Bolton] had no grounds to quote President Putin [that Russia allegedly doesn’t want Iran’s presence in Syria] because Putin has never said anything of the kind,” Lavrov told a news conference after talks with his visiting Zarif, TASS reported.

“It is against our traditions and principles, the more so it is against President Putin’s principles, to discuss such things behind the back of our partners. We are tightly cooperating with Turkey and Iran in Syria.”

“I refrain from commenting on the habit of American retired officials to write memoirs in such a way that entails litigations and lawsuits,” he noted. “Probably, it is part of what can be called a specific political culture had it not been a quite different thing than what we typically call culture.”

Bolton alleges in his book that Putin told him during their meeting in the Kremlin in June 2018 that Moscow was not interested in Iran’s presence in Syria.

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