Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged that Turkey’s military assault on Afrin region in northwest Syria should come to an end, stressing that the presence of an armed force in another country needs the consent of that country’s government and people.
“The Afrin (military) operation should end soon because individuals both from the Turkish military and the other side are being killed and it would bear no fruits,” Rouhani said at a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
“This is our recommendation and our view, just as we condemned the American (military) presence in Syria and (believe) they pursue wrong intentions in the region and seek Syria’s disintegration.”
He added that the entry of an army into another country’s territory requires the approval of that country’s government and people.
The president, nonetheless, highlighted the importance of cooperation among Iran, Russia and Turkey and said it is necessary that the three countries hold a summit in the not distant future.
Turkey has been waging “Operation Olive Branch” against Syria’s Afrin region since January 20 in a bid to eliminate the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has warned that the Afrin offensive could also expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.
Turkey has also been assisting militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight against the Kurdish fighters.
The Syrian government has condemned the “brutal Turkish aggression” against Afrin.
Elsewhere in his remarks at the press conference, the Iranian president reiterated the country’s determination to keep enhancing its defense power.
While Iran is committed to not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, it will continue to acquire whatever conventional weapons it needs, Rouhani said.
Iran’s missiles will never be used for aggression, he added. “Our missiles are for defense and have never been built for (carrying) WMDs. Therefore, we are not going to negotiate in this regard (missiles).”
Iranian officials have frequently dismissed the idea of negotiations over issues related to the country’s defense capabilities.
In comments in October 2017, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei stressed that the country will press ahead with the plans to boost its defense capabilities.
“As we have announced several times in the past and announce it once again, the country’s defense capabilities and power are not subject to negotiations and bargaining,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at the time.
“We will have no bargaining and dealing with the enemy over the country’s means of defense and over whatever provides or supports the national power,” Imam Khamenei underscored.