Posts Tagged ‘Hassan Rouhani’

Iran president: we don’t intend any aggression — “We want friendly and brotherly relations with our neighbors”

April 18, 2018

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and beard

TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran “does not intend any aggression” against its neighbors but will continue to produce all the weapons it needs for its defense.

.
“We tell the world that we will produce any weapons that we need, or if necessary we will procure them. We have not been waiting… and will not wait for your remarks or agreement,” said Rouhani at a military parade in Tehran to mark the annual Army Day.

.
“But at the same time we announce to our neighboring countries in the region… we do not intend any aggression against you.”

.
The United States and its allies have been demanding that Iran curb its ballistic missile program, but Tehran sees this as crucial to its defensive posture.

.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its atomic program unless new restrictions are imposed on its missile program and other areas by May 12.

.
“We want friendly and brotherly relations with our neighbors and we tell them that our weapons, our equipment, our missiles, our planes, our tanks are not against you, it is for deterrence,” said Rouhani.

.
“The only way to resolve problems is political negotiation and peaceful behavior,” he added.

.
Regional rival Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to dominate the Middle East through the expansion of proxy forces in countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

.
Iran argues these forces operate with the permission of allied governments to fight jihadist groups and prevent the disintegration of states.

.
Rouhani did not appear to reference Israel, which Iran considers an “illegitimate regime” and whose dissolution is a top priority for the country’s Islamic rulers.

.
Israel has expressed concern over the growing presence of Iranian forces along its borders and has recently launched air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.

Reuters

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1286856/middle-east

Advertisements

Erdoğan, Iranian counterpart pledge to maintain alliance with Russia on Syria

April 18, 2018
ISTANBUL
Daily Sabah
emAP File Photo/em

AP File Photo

The presidents of Turkey and Iran on Tuesday vowed to press on with their alliance alongside Russia over Syria, the Turkish presidency said Tuesday, after Ankara backed strikes by the U.S. and its allies against the Assad regime.

“The two leaders emphasized the importance of continuing the joint efforts of Turkey, Iran and Russia… to protect Syrian territorial integrity and find a lasting, peaceful solution to the crisis,” a Turkish presidential source said following telephone talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations, said the source, who refused to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Stating Turkey’s clear stance against the use of chemical weapons, Erdoğan said it is important to not allow tensions to escalate and evaluate the incidents within its context.

The leaders spoke about Syria’s territorial integrity, adding that it was important to continue the joint efforts by Turkey, Iran and Russia for a lasting political solution to the Syrian crisis as part of the Astana peace process.

Also, the leaders expressed their desire to boost bilateral economic relations.

The phone call came after the U.S. in coordination with France and the U.K. conducted on Saturday a series of military strikes targeting the Assad regime’s chemical weapons capabilities in retaliation to a suspected chemical attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, earlier this month.

https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2018/04/17/erdogan-iranian-counterpart-pledge-to-maintain-alliance-with-russia-on-syria

Related:

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

.

Erdogan, Rouhani agree to maintain Turkey, Iran, Russia cooperation in Syria

April 17, 2018

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

.

Reuters

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani agreed on Tuesday to maintain the cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Russia for a political solution to the conflict in Syria, a source in Erdogan’s office said.

Erdogan also told Rouhani in a telephone call that actions to increase tensions in the region should be avoided, after U.S., British and French forces carried out air strikes on Syria over the weekend.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan

Iranian president lashes out at US as Iran marks Nuclear Day Read

April 9, 2018

 

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani listens to explanations on new nuclear achievements at a ceremony to mark “National Nuclear Day,” in Tehran, Iran, Monday, April 9, 2018. Rouhani said Monday that despite many attempts, the U.S. has “failed to destroy” the landmark 2015 deal between Iran and world powers.

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

(Associated Press) – April 10, 2018

.

TEHRAN — Iran’s president has lashed out at the United States as Iran marked “National Nuclear Day,” dedicated to the country’s achievements in nuclear technology.

Hassan Rouhani says despite its attempts, the US “failed to destroy” the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers. The agreement set caps on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

 

Rouhani also mocked President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly described the nuclear agreement as “bad.” Trump extended sanctions waivers in January but has declined to re-certify the nuclear deal.

“They spent huge amounts of dollars and talked a lot, and posted so many tweets, thinking that this building would shake with tweets,” Rouhani said of the Trump administration. His speech was broadcast live on Iranian state TV.

The nuclear agreement curbed Tehran’s controversial nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Rouhani reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the deal and said Iran would not be the first to violate it. He also stressed Iran is ready to quickly revert to the situation before the deal, should the U.S. abandon it.

“If they breach the deal, they will see its impact within a week or less than a week,” Rouhani said.

The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, claimed that should the deal collapse, Iran would be able to restart the enrichment program and enrich uranium to the level of 20 percent within two days. Weapons-grade uranium is 90 percent enriched.

Rouhani on Monday also unveiled dozens of Iran’s purported nuclear achievements, including a centrifuge for use in the oil industry and a laser spectrometer.

Iran often boasts of technological achievements which are impossible to independently verify.

In his speech, Rouhani urged Arab countries in the Mideast — many of them U.S. allies — to stop cooperating with Washington and turn to each other instead.

“Trust your nation’s powers and the power of regional nations,” he said. “Let’s stand together.”

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/world/2018/04/10/1804545/iranian-president-lashes-out-us-iran-marks-nuclear-day#HwoTTLh5GZsXQwKt.99

Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on April 4

March 16, 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, will host a tripartite Syria summit on April 4 to be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, not in picture. (AP)

ANKARA: The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet for a three-way summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

.
The meeting will be hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will be the second such tripartite summit following one in November in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
.
The summit will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as the three leaders seek to salvage their efforts to end the conflict.
.
As part of peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana sponsored by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran, the three countries’ foreign ministers will meet on Friday and will discuss preparations for next month’s summit, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
.
The three countries have worked together despite being on different sides. While Iran and Russia have provided military support to the regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad, Turkey has repeatedly called for his ousting and supported Syrian rebels.
.
Ankara on Jan. 20 launched an air and ground offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in its enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.
.
The operation dubbed Olive Branch follows Turkey’s 2016-2017 offensive named Euphrates Shield in Syria against the YPG and the Daesh extremist group.
.
As part of the Astana process, Turkey, Iran and Russia have set out to create four so-called de-escalation zones in Idlib, the greater Damascus area, the southern region of Daraa and the city of Homs.
.
Intense bombardment has continued in Eastern Ghouta, which was designated in May 2017 as a “de-escalation zone.”
.
On Feb. 18, the regime backed by Russia launched a campaign against the rebel enclave near Damascus which has killed 1,249 civilians, including 252 children.
.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing

Iran’s Oil Boom Hasn’t Showed Up

March 8, 2018

Many international companies are hesitant to invest as the Trump administration threatens to reimpose sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran—Iran’s oil-and-gas industry was supposed to take off after the nuclear deal. Instead, one of the world’s largest energy sectors is languishing.

International oil companies are staying on the sidelines as the Trump administration threatens to rip up the 2016 deal and reimpose oil sanctions lifted in exchange for limits on its atomic-power program.

Iranian officials predicted the deal would result by now in $10 billion a year in fresh foreign spending in the oil and gas sector. But only about $1.3 billion has been injected over two years, mostly from China, said Homayoun Falakshahi, an Iran-focused analyst at the oil consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

After an initial uptick, oil-production capacity has plateaued at 3.85 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency, far below the varying estimates that Iranian officials have predicted over the years. France’s Total SA signed a $1 billion deal on President Donald Trump’s election day that was touted as heralding a rush of Western investment, but it remains the only one to forge ahead.

French auto-maker Peugeot and aircraft producer Boeing Co. have found ways to make deals in Iran, but the energy sector has lagged because these investments would be multi-billion-dollar, potentially decadeslong affairs with high visibility to the U.S. government. In Iran, hardliners opposed to foreign investment have pushed back against President Hassan Rouhani’s plans to sweeten the pot for oil companies.

A weekend conference in Tehran was supposed to be a showcase of the country’s energy potential. British oil giant BP PLC, French energy company EDF Group and Germany’s Wintershall AG sent representatives, people familiar with the matter said.

But these companies are hesitant because they or their parent companies have U.S. operations that could be affected if sanctions were reimposed, the people said.

“It’s depressing,” said an Italian executive whose company has been trying for years to sign an oil deal in Iran.

BP declined to comment. EDF didn’t respond to requests for comment. Wintershall said it is “closely following the developments” in Iran and follows all laws.

The oil industry was expected to be the easiest piece of Iran’s economy to fix after almost a decade of sanctions curbed its crude exports. Iran has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of oil and the largest natural-gas assets—much of it still untapped. Big oil companies like BP had long experience in Iran, the expertise to unlock oil from its sometimes difficult geology and the willingness to go back in under the right terms.

Related

  • Oil Prices Fall as U.S. Production Climbs

Iranian officials acknowledged that foreign investment was coming in more slowly than expected, blaming the U.S. for sowing fear and uncertainty.

“I am not satisfied,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh in an interview. “But we are trying and I am optimistic.”

Mr. Trump has set a May 12 deadline for amending the nuclear deal or setting a course that could revive sanctions on Iranian oil sales. A U.S. State Department official said the U.S. was upholding its side of the deal “while holding Iran strictly accountable to its commitments.”

U.S. officials are concerned about Iran’s support for groups like Hezbollah and its ballistic missile technology, among other things.

Iran did get economic relief after sanctions were lifted, with exports rising by almost a million barrels a day and investments pouring in from China. Those barrels helped stave off a financial collapse, got Iran’s economy growing again and eased rampant inflation.

But its anemic comeback since has helped foster broad disappointment among average Iranians. Economic concerns were the initial focus of widespread demonstrations this year that transformed into a broader condemnation of Iran’s ruling system.

Iran’s economic growth is forecast to fall to 4.2% during this fiscal year from 6.6% the year before, according to the International Monetary Fund, citing flat oil production and uncertainty over the deal. The Iranian rial has fluctuated wildly.

Mr. Zanganeh said he expected to make deals with foreign oil companies in the coming weeks, and Russian state media reported that Russian oil companies were planning to invest in Iran. Some Western companies are looking at deals in Iran, including Baker Hughes GE, which is trying to find a way to use non-American staff to supply equipment and services for Total’s Iranian gas project, people familiar with the matter said.

A Baker Hughes GE spokeswoman said its “commercial engagement in Iran is limited to those activities that are consistent and compliant with U.S. government rules, licenses and policies.”

The U.S. still bars all dollar transactions with Iran, complicating matters because oil is traded in greenbacks. Big banks are reluctant to provide financing for Iranian deals.

According to people familiar with the matter, Total has had to assemble a group of little-known small banks from China, France and Italy to transfer money for its project to increase production at Iran’s largest offshore gas field.

Total said its gas project “is progressing as per plan” and its use of small banks was in compliance with all laws.

Iranian hardliners have been working to limit foreign investments like Total to natural gas, which is less politically charged in Iran because it isn’t exported in large quantities like crude oil.

But last month, Iran canceled a preliminary deal with a Norwegian company to build the country’s first liquefied-natural-gas offshore export facility after criticism from hardliners.

Local oil contractor Mohammed Hadi Rahaeari drew loud applause this weekend from a mostly Iranian audience at the conference by calling for local companies’ needs to take precedence over outside firms.

“You should build your house first before letting foreigners in,” he said.

Write to Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/irans-oil-potential-remains-untapped-1520424485

Iran in decisive shift in favor of relations with China and Russia — “Preferring East to West.”

February 26, 2018

From L: Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin leave after posing for photos ahead of their trilateral meeting in Tehran, in this November 1, 2017 file photo. (AFP)
TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader has signalled a decisive shift in favor of relations with China and Russia, indicating that patience is running out with efforts to improve ties with the West.
.
One of the most popular slogans during the 1979 revolution was “Neither East nor West,” a defiant vow that Iran would no longer favor either of the world’s major forces at the time — American-style capitalism or Soviet Communism.
.
It was therefore striking to hear its current leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declare on February 19 that: “In foreign policy, the top priorities for us today include preferring East to West.”
.
Analysts say this does not change the basic idea that Iran refuses to fall under the sway of outside powers.
.
But it does suggest that the latest attempt at detente with the United States — represented by the 2015 nuclear deal in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions — is running out of steam.
.
“Khamenei has repeatedly outlined that the 2015 nuclear deal was a test to see if negotiations with the West could yield positive results for Iran,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
.
“The leadership perceives the US as acting in bad faith on the deal. Khamenei’s statement signals a green light for the Iranian system to focus greater diplomatic effort on deepening ties with China and Russia,” she said.
.
Khamenei’s comments come at a critical moment, with US President Donald Trump threatening to tear up the deal and reimpose sanctions unless Iran agrees to rein in its missile program and “destabilising activities” in the Middle East.
.
Even before Trump, Iran felt Washington was violating its side of the bargain as it became clear that remaining US sanctions would still hamper banking ties and foreign investments, even blocking Iranian tech start-ups from sharing their products on app stores.
.
Tehran argues this violates a clause stating the US must “refrain from any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.”
.
“From day one, the US, the Obama administration, started violating both the letter and the spirit of the agreement,” said Mohammad Marandi, a political analyst at the University of Tehran.
.
He said Khamenei’s latest statement recognized the simple fact that relations with eastern countries were much stronger, particularly since Iran and Russia allied over the Syrian war.
.
“It’s a very different world now. Iran’s relationship with Russia and China and an increasing number of Asian countries is much better than with the West because they treat us much better,” he said.
.
“We are partners with Russia in Syria. We are not subordinate.”
.
Anger over foreign interference was a key driver of the 1979 revolution after more than a century of intrigues, coups and resource exploitation by the United States, Britain and Russia.
.
But despite being depicted by critics as dogmatic and uncompromising, the Islamic republic that emerged after the revolution has been surprisingly flexible in its foreign policy.
.
“At certain moments since 1979, Iran has taken a pragmatic approach to dealings with the United States when necessary or in its interest,” said Geranmayeh.
.
She highlighted the infamous Iran-Contra arms deal in the 1980s and cooperation in Afghanistan in 2001, as well as the nuclear deal.
.
Yet many hard-liners in Washington refuse to accept that Iran has ever been serious about rapprochement.
.
The American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, this month released a series of articles calling for “a more confrontational policy toward Iran,” including the threat of regime change.
.
Its main justification was that “the men who run Iran’s foreign policy have no interest in a better relationship.”
.
But speaking in April 2015, three months before the nuclear deal was finalized, Khamenei explicitly said it could lead to a broader improvement in ties.
.
“If the other side stops its usual obstinacy, this will be an experience for us and we will find out that we can negotiate with it over other matters as well,” he said in a speech.
.
Iran’s oil sales have rebounded since the deal, and it has seen an uptick in trade with Europe.
.
But the threat of US penalties has helped deter many foreign investors and major banks from re-engaging with Iran.
.
European firms and governments remain far more vulnerable to pressure from Washington than their Chinese and Russian counterparts.
.
“If the Europeans don’t have the courage to stand up to the US then they shouldn’t expect to be partners with us,” said Marandi.
.
“If some doors are closed and some doors are open, we are not going to wait outside the closed doors forever.”

Khamenei Says Iran Foiled Insurgency to Overthrow the Islamic Republic

January 9, 2018

By Babak Dehghanpisheh

Reuters

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran has foiled attempts by its foreign enemies to turn legitimate protests into an insurgency to overthrow the Islamic Republic, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday.

Comments on his Twitter feed and in Iranian media underscored the establishment’s confidence that it has extinguished the unrest that spread to more than 80 cities in which at least 22 people died since late December.

“Once again, the nation tells the US, Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too.’” Khamenei tweeted.

A handout photo provided by the office of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on January 2, 2018, shows him delivering a statement in the capital Tehran.
Image copyright AFP

The Revolutionary Guards, the military force loyal to Khamenei, said on Sunday security forces had put an end to the unrest that it said had been whipped up by foreign enemies.

At least 1,000 people have been arrested in the biggest anti-government protests for nearly a decade, with the judiciary saying ringleaders could face the death penalty.

Khamenei said U.S. President Donald Trump was grandstanding when he tweeted support for protesters he said were trying “to take back their corrupt government” and promising “great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”

The Iranian leader tweeted: “… this man who sits at the head of the White House – although, he seems to be a very unstable man – he must realize that these extreme and psychotic episodes won’t be left without a response.”

As well as Washington and London, Khamenei blamed the violence on Israel, exiled dissident group Mojahedin-e-Khalq and “a wealthy government” in the Gulf, a reference to Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia.

Khamenei has called the protests – which were initially about the economy but soon turned political – “playing with fireworks”, but he said citizens had a right to air legitimate concerns, a rare concession by a leader who usually voices clear support for security crackdowns.

“These concerns must be addressed. We must listen, we must hear. We must provide answers within our means,” Khamenei was quoted as saying, hinting that not only the government of President Hassan Rouhani, but his own clerical leadership must also respond.

“I‘m not saying that they must follow up. I am also responsible. All of us must follow up,” Khamenei said.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

Iranian ex-president Ahmadinejad arrested for inciting unrest

January 7, 2018

ARAB NEWS | 

The former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported to have been arrested for inciting unrest. (AP)

TEHRAN: The former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported to have been arrested by authorities for allegedly inciting unrest against the regime, Al Arabiya reported, who were quoting earlier media reports with “reliable sources in Tehran.”

.
The Iranian regime has reportedly arrested Ahmadinejad in Shiraz city for inciting unrest during the recent protests in the country and encouraging more demonstrations following statements he made earlier in Bushehr.
.
Authorities are now seeking to place Ahmadinejad under house arrest with the approval of Ali Khamenei.
.
During a visit to Bushehr city late December, Ahmadinejad had claimed Iran suffered from “mismanagement” and that the current president, Hassan Rouhani and his government, believed he “owned the land and that the people are an ignorant society,” the newspaper went on to report.
.
“Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society,” they reported him saying.
.

Protests put spotlight on Iran’s vast and shadowy Syria war

January 5, 2018

 

In this Sept. 27, 2017 file photo, thousands attend the state funeral of Mohsen Hojaji, a young Revolutionary Guard soldier beheaded in Syria by the Daesh group, in Tehran, Iran. (AP)
 .
BEIRUT: In demonstrations across Iran, chants are going up against the military’s vast and shadowy war in Syria, one of Tehran’s closest allies and a frontline state in its confrontation with its archenemy, Israel.
.
Although the protests have focused on economic issues, demonstrators have also voiced strong opposition to the government’s policy of sending young Iranians to fight and die in Syria while spending billions of dollars on the military when they say the priority should be working to provide jobs in Iran and control the rising cost of living.
.
Their slogans include, “Leave Syria, think about us!” and “Death to Hezbollah!” the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group that has been a key instrument of Tehran in Syria’s war.
.
Syria saw its own domestic demonstrations morph into anti-government protests in 2011. They were met with a brutal crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s security services, sending the country into civil war.
.
But as cracks appeared in Assad’s military, with soldiers refusing to fire on protesters and defecting to the opposition, Iran and later Russia stepped in to support their ally.
.
Iran’s theocratic leadership has cast the effort as a religious war for Shiite Islam, an epochal struggle to defend the shrine of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter in Damascus from Sunni jihadis, and to deal a crippling blow to what it says is a US-Israeli conspiracy to destroy Syria. But it is motivated by geopolitical concerns, too. Syria, bordering both Israel and Lebanon, is a key node to Iran’s network of deterrence against Israel.
.
Tehran needs Damascus as both a conduit to and sponsor of Hezbollah, Iran’s vanguard force in the region.
.
Today, Iran’s military and an array of regional militias under its command operate with wide latitude in the war against rebels and Daesh militants in both Syria and Iraq. It is also invested in the Gaza Strip and is accused of supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen.
.
Military sacrifice
.
Across Iran, banners honoring the young men who have died fighting in Syria hang over public spaces as a reminder of the sacrifice that has been paid.
.
Imams memorialize the dead at Friday prayers, and media outlets pay tribute to the “martyrs” who have died “defending the holy shrine” of Muhammad’s daughter, Sayyida Zeinab, in the Syrian capital.
.
In September, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, prayed over the casket of 25-year-old Mohsen Hojaji at a funeral broadcast nationwide, followed by a large rally in Tehran — moves crafted to stir patriotism in a country growing weary of the military venture in Syria. An image of Hojaji depicted him being welcomed into heaven by the third Shiite saint, Hussein, Muhammad’s grandson.
.
Iran has not disclosed how many of its soldiers have been lost in Syria, but Mohammad Ali Shahidi, the head of the Martyr’s Foundation of the Islamic Revolution, which supports veterans and families of the dead, says more than 2,000 men have been killed, though roughly half of those are foreigners from Afghanistan and other nations fighting under militias organized by Tehran.
.
In November, the semi-official Fars news agency reported the death of an Iranian brigadier general in Boukamal, a Syrian town overlooking one of the country’s main crossings into Iran. Fars said the general was killed by a mortar shell in a battle with Daesh militants.
.
That same battle was directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ own Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was shown in videos published on social media addressing fighters in Farsi. He had under his command Shiite fighters from Hezbollah and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces’ militias, as well as Syrian army forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
.
Syrian rebels say the Revolutionary Guard has directed several major battles on behalf of Assad’s forces and has bases from the south of the country to the north.
.
Iran spends more than $12 billion annually on its military, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is understood to spend millions more on subsidies and exports to Syria, which has seen its economy shattered by the war.
.
The protests now shaking Iran erupted after President Hassan Rouhani’s latest budget proposal disclosed cuts to local subsidies while preserving privileges for the military and religious institutions.
.
Hezbollah and others
.
Iran and Assad have depended on Hezbollah to do some of the toughest, special forces assignments in the Syrian war. But Tehran has also organized militias from Afghanistan, called the Fatimiyoun, and Pakistan, called the Zeynabiyoun, to fight in Syria. It promises Afghan refugees living in Iran wages and citizenship in exchange for a tour of duty in Syria.
.
Syrian rebels say they are battling not just Syrian government soldiers, but Lebanese, Iraqi, and Afghani fighters, too. And Associated Press reporters have seen the flags of Afghan and Lebanese militias flying over military points outside Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
.
Syria’s rebels, boosted by calls for global jihad, are supported by scores of foreign fighters of their own.
.
Human Rights Watch says Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has recruited Afghan refugee children as young as 14 to fight in Syria, identifiable by their tombstones in Iran. It says Iranian media memorialized child soldiers and hailed Iranian fighters as young as 13 in the Syria battle.
.
Iran also leans heavily on the battle-hardened fighters of Iraq’s state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces, which has been instrumental to defeating Daesh militants on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border and opening a corridor of Iranian influence that runs from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut.
.
As in Iran, there is a risk in Lebanon and Iraq of popular blowback against a grinding military effort in Syria that has stretched on for nearly seven years.
.
When Lebanese authorities pulled down illegal vendor stalls in a Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut in October, residents took to the streets to excoriate Hezbollah’s leadership for failing to stand up for them, despite their sacrifices over Syria.
.
“They should be planting a tree on each martyr’s grave,” a woman shouted to the cameras. “Every home has a martyr. Every home has a wounded veteran.”