Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has said the United States will have to “drop its no-fly zones” in Syria if it wants to reach a nuclear deal with world powers.
He said Sunday that if a deal with the United Nations Security Council is struck in Geneva, Iran will join the other countries that have no air force, meaning it will no longer be able to carry out strikes on targets in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
Rouhani has called for a “political solution” to the conflict in Syria and said that if it does not happen, Iran could leave the country.
The president’s comments came as the White House released a statement saying that it is still seeking a “full political solution” in the Syrian conflict.
In Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are all parties to the U,S.-Russia deal, with the other three countries joining the United Kingdom, France and Germany in seeking a political solution to the crisis.
But the Syrian president said Sunday he does not expect any changes in U.N. Security Council resolutions and that the U in no way wants to change the agreement.
“We do not want to change what we have in place,” he said.
“We have the agreement, but there are no changes.
We want to continue this political process.
Iran and Syria have not been able to reach any political solution and that is why we have dropped the no-fire zone.”
Riab said the no fly zone would be a major accomplishment for Iran if it can be lifted.
On Sunday, he said the U’s withdrawal of its “no-fire zones” would be in keeping with the agreement and would be the “greatest achievement” for the Islamic Republic.
However, he added that “if we cannot achieve the political solution, we will leave.”
In response to the president’s remarks, Iran’s foreign ministry said that he has failed to understand the nature of the agreement between the United State and Russia.
Russia, the world’s largest arms exporter, said Sunday it does support the removal of the “no fly zones” but added that the United Sates departure from the deal is not a “negotiating move.”
“The fact that the President has made such an ill-informed statement, when Iran does not want the ‘no fly zone’ to be lifted, does not indicate any change of position of Iran,” said spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei.
Ejei did not elaborate on the significance of the statement.
The U.K. and France said on Sunday that they will not be bound by the agreement with Iran and will continue to provide support to its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
U.S.-Russian talks in Geneva aimed at ending the crisis have been postponed after a dispute over the delivery of military hardware to the Syrian rebels, who have been fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the UN Security Council on Saturday that the two sides will meet to try to resolve the dispute over equipment and other issues, and that Russia will send a military aircraft to Syria.
Earlier on Sunday, Russia and Iran signed a $1 billion deal to build a pipeline to carry oil and gas to Iran.
At least 50 countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Spain, have expressed their interest in the deal, which was signed in late September.
The deal aims to make Iran and the United Saudi Arabia a major oil and natural gas exporter and will provide access to the Gulf region, which supplies 70 percent of the world oil supply.