US President Donald Trump’s claim that Iran supports terrorism will not lead anywhere, says Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, citing Moscow’s own anti-terror work with Tehran.
Trump made the allegation during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where he accused Iran of destabilizing the Middle East and supporting what he called terrorist groups such as the Lebanese resistance movement of Hezbollah, which has been fighting Saudi-backed Takfiri terrorists in Syria.
“This [claim against Iran] does not help stabilize the situation,” Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday. “The United States accuses Iran of supporting terrorism, while Moscow has been closely cooperating with Tehran in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.”
The Russian diplomat said, unlike the US, Iran had been actively engaged in the Astana peace talks to help find a solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Launched by Iran, Russia and Turkey in the capital of Kazakhstan, the initiative has produced an agreement on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting across the country.
“We have been holding active consultations with Iran within the Astana process,” Zakharova said, before criticizing Washington’s refusal to give serious consideration to the format.
“We have more than once invited the United Stated to get fully involved in these activities as practical work can help accommodate the concerns that the US has,” the Russian diplomat argued. “Focusing on accusations instead of doing practical work will not lead anywhere.”
The US has been reluctant to take part in the process, initially sending low-key delegations to Astana led by US Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol.
For the latest round, however, the White House agreed to send Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Stuart Jones. The decision came after a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart.
Jones’ presence at the talks showed Washington’s commitment to a political solution only on paper, because the US military’s behavior on the ground has signaled a different approach.