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Rouhani Says Iran Ready To Play Active Role In Syria’s Reconstruction

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani address the media after a trilateral meeting on Syria in Sochi on November 22, 2017

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has expressed Iran's readiness to contribute to Syria’s reconstruction.

According to Iranian president’s official website, Rouhani told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad on Saturday in a phone call, that the nations of Iran and Syria had a great achievement in the fight against terrorism and now Tehran is ready to play an active role in the reconstruction of Syria.

Last week, the Commander in Chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Ali Jafari also said that IRGC was ready to help rebuild Syria and establish a lasting ceasefire there.

Jafari said that IRGC and the Iranian government had agreed that the Guards were in a better position to help Syria's reconstruction and added that “the preliminary talks already have been held with the Syrian government over the issue."

But the Iranian government has not confirmed Jafari's assertions. The IRGC has supported the Syrian president with weapons and thousands of soldiers since the civil war broke out in 2011, which left hundreds of thousands of people dead and forced millions to flee in the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

IRGC's economic record is a very controversial issue in Iran, where the all-powerful military machine operates virtually with no clear controls.

On June 22, Rouhani in a speech had criticized IRGC’s control of a big chunk of Iran’s economy and advocated liberalizing the economy and expanding the private sector.

“Part of the economy was controlled by an unarmed government and we delegated it to an armed government. This is not [a sound] economy or privatization”, Rouhani said.

“We are not afraid of such rebukes,” IRGC commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari responded to Rouhani’s criticism at the time.

According to media reports, Iran already has signed some lucrative contracts with Syria.

Early this month, Iran’s official News Agency IRNA quoted Syrian electricity minister as saying that 50% of his country’s power grid had been destroyed during the war and Iranian and Russian companies were helping to restore it.

Iranian companies have signed contracts worth of $1.2 billion for the restoration of the power grid in Syria, the minister announced. It is not clear whether the companies have any ties to IRGC.