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Why Putin won’t throw Iran under the bus in Syria

Despite speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin may sacrifice Iran's interests in his upcoming summit with US President Donald Trump, Russian policy appears geared toward gaining concessions from the Americans without going beyond Iran’s red lines in Syria.

The Finnish capital of Helsinki will host a summit July 16 between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Amid preparations for the meeting, speculation has been raised about the topics that may be discussed by the two presidents. Although the formal agenda has yet to be announced, one thing is certain: The Syrian crisis and prospects for engagement between Moscow and Washington on the war-torn country will likely form a great part of what Putin and Trump will discuss — and possibly agree upon.

US national security adviser John Bolton acknowledged on July 1 that an important part of the agenda of the upcoming Trump-Putin summit will be for the United States to ask for Russia’s help to oust Iran from Syria. According to Bolton, Washington has accepted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will retain power in Syria and now wants to concentrate on convincing Moscow to cut its partnership in Syria with Tehran. In return for Putin’s agreement to help the Americans expel the Iranians from Syria, Trump is reportedly ready to withdraw US forces from the country as well as help the Syrian military regain full control over the southern region along the border with Jordan.

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