PHOTO: Supreme Leader’s top aide Ali Akbar Velayati: “Turkey and Russia are our neighbors” (IRNA)
Iran has pulled back from its propaganda campaign against Turkey, calling for an easing of relations between Ankara and Russia over the 57-month Syrian conflict.
The top aide to the Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, said after a meeting with a senior Turkish cleric on Saturday, “[Turkey and Russia] are our neighbors and we do not want to see any tension between [our] neighboring countries, with whom we have friendly relations.”
Iran had joined Russia in an intense propaganda campaign after Turkish jets downed a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border on November 24. Allegations included Ankara’s support of Islamic State, helping ISIS move and sell oil in Turkey, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan profiting from the trade.
However, in recent days the anti-Turkish stories have disappeared from the media outlets of Iran’s regime groups. Even Fars News, linked to the Revolutionary Guards, has halted articles portraying Turkey as part of a conspiracy to take over Syria.
The change in line appears to be part of an effort to isolate Saudi Arabia, the main backer of Syrian rebels and organizer of a conference earlier this month to establish an opposition-rebel bloc for negotiations.
Velayati expressed hope on Saturday that Iran and Turkey will improve cooperation with other regional countries, including Iraq and Syria, to “thwart US and Zionist-led plots aimed at disintegrating Muslim states”: “If there is a difference among regional countries or Muslim states, it should be settled through dialog and [we] should not interfere in each other’s internal affairs.2