While Iran is a close ally of Russia in the Syrian conflict, it announced on June 15 that the presence of its armed forces in Syria is upon the request of Syrian government and will not affected by any agreement reached between other countries.
Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari made the remarks in Tehran on the sidelines of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin's Special Envoy for Syria Affairs, Alexander Lavrentiev on Saturday.
He was responding to a question from a reporter whether the July 8 agreement between the U.S. and Russia on a ceasefire deal in southeast Syria also includes Iranian forces present in the war-torn country.
Ansari said Iran’s presence in any form or level in the Syrian conflict has been on the request of the Syrian government and based on mutual agreements with Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Iran’s six year involvement in the Syrian civil war has dramatically changed the situation in the Middle East, with heightened sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites and lately, strong opposition by Israel.
Iran first denied its military involvement in the conflict, but as its casualties mounted and information and images leaked out, it admitted to a “military advisory” role.
But indications show, that in addition to Iranian military forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, Iran has also been organizing and sending Shiite Afghan, Iraqi and even Pakistani militia to fight on the side of Assad’s forces.