Iran’s Supreme Leader: We won’t negotiate with West over regional presence

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Iran’s Supreme Leader: We won’t negotiate with West over regional presence

LONDON: Iran will not negotiate with the West over its presence in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, days after the visiting French foreign minister sought to discuss Tehran’s role in regional conflicts.
Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Tehran on Monday with a brief to reaffirm Europe’s support for a nuclear deal that opened Iran’s economy while echoing US concern about Tehran’s missile program and its influence in the region.
“European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It is none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.
Khamenei said Iran would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region.
“We will negotiate with America, when we wanted to be present in America,” he added.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal unless three European signatories help “fix” the accord by forcing Iran to limit its sway in the Middle East and rein in its missile program.
French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized the program and raised the possibility of new sanctions.
Tehran supports Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad in the government’s war against rebel forces, including groups backed by the West, and is an ally of Israel’s enemy Hezbollah in Lebanon.


US troops to stay in Syria as long as Iran forces operate on foreign soil - Bolton

Updated 11 min 7 sec ago
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US troops to stay in Syria as long as Iran forces operate on foreign soil - Bolton

NEW YORK: US National Security adviser John Bolton said on Monday that US troops would not leave Syria "as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders."

He also said Iran was responsible for attacks in Syria, and Lebanon and was responsible for the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft last week. 

Bolton's worning on iran came as France warned Monday that the Middle East risked “perpetual war” unless a peace agreement can be reached in Syria.

Syrian President “Bashar Assad but also those who support him have a responsiblity to work for a political solution,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at the United Nations.
“If not, we risk heading toward a sort of perpetual war in the area,” he said.

Meanwhile, France has called for stronger international sanctions on Libyans who stand in the way of a political solution in the conflict-ridden country.
The current situation "forces us to show greater firmness toward those who want to insist on the status quo for their sole benefit," Le Drian said, urging sanctions against the "militia members who threaten Tripoli."