Growing Iranian involvement in the war in Syria is about to be officially requested by Basher Assad in Tehran later this month.
To assure his safe arrival in and departure through Iraqi airspace, his plane will be guarded by “four strategic Russian fighter jets,” said the Lebanese daily al-Diyar. It also reported that “the US-led international coalition’s air command has been warned not to approach…Assad’s plane to avoid engagement.”
The Iranians claim Assad’s visit aims to celebrate “recent victories of the Syrian army against the Takfiri terrorist groups.” However, they seem to follow in Moscow’s footstep in the charade that their presence and direct involvement in the Syrian war are legitimate.
Why now? It has never been a secret that Iran has been Assad’s main supporter all along.
It seems that Tehran is seizing on the Obama administration’s eagerness to now lift the sanctions on Iran. This, despite the testimony of Stephen Mull, the State Department’s lead coordinator for implementation of the Iran deal before the Senate foreign relations committee last week that Iran has yet to comply with the deal, and that he didn’t “think anyone in the US can predict when that will be.” No one mentioned that the Iranian parliament did not approved of the deal.
Moreover, Iran has been blatantly violating paragraph 9 of the U.N. Security Council resolution 1929, which prohibits the development of “ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Yet, in his letter to the same committee State Secretary Kerry said that “Iran had not engaged in any covert or other activities that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons program.” And despite clear evidence of Iranian non-compliance told the committee: “Iran is fulfilling its obligations under the international agreement in a “transparent” and “verifiable” way” therefore “suspension of sanctions … is appropriate”.
Apparently, Iran is not satisfied with the tens of billions of dollars it is about to receive when the sanctions are lifted. Bringing Assad to Tehran, staging his requesting their intervention as he did earlier with Russia, would provide Iran the opportunity to claim not only legitimacy, but also to advance its agenda in regional conflicts and its footing on the world stage.