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Iran maneuvers to protect its interests in Syria

Iran’s strategy on Syria enters a more proactive phase as the Islamic Republic maneuvers to keep its interests, including its partnership with Russia, intact.

The Finnish capital, Helsinki, turned into the main center for international diplomacy July 16 by hosting a long-awaited summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, as Iran and Syria topped the agenda of the two presidents’ discussions at the summit, Tehran was trying to adapt its Syrian strategy by sending special envoys to Moscow and Damascus.

Five days prior to the meeting, on July 11, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati traveled to Moscow to deliver separate messages from Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani to the Russian president. Although the visit was primarily aimed at cementing cooperation with Russia in the aftermath of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, a great part of Velayati’s discussions in Moscow was focused on the Syrian issue and the Iran-Russia partnership in the war-torn country.

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