(Persia Digest) – Ali-Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader advisor on international affairs, has arrived in Moscow on Wednesday at the helm of a high-ranking delegation to meet with President Putin and convey the messages of the Supreme Leader and President of Iran. At the same time, Israeli PM Netanyahu has also landed in Moscow to meet with the Russian President. Haaretz reports that at his meeting with Putin, Netanyahu may propose the lifting of US sanctions against Russia in return for an Iranian withdrawal from Syria.

International affairs analyst, Hassan Beheshtipour, told Persia Digest: “Iran has not entered Syria with Russian permission to leave Syria on Russian orders. Its presence there has been coordinated with the Syrian government; therefore, its withdrawal also depends on the Syrian decision.”

Beheshtipour rejects speculations by Haaretz and says: “Such a scenario is effectively not possible; because, Russian sanctions will remain in place due to the Russian invasion of Crimea and the importance of Ukraine. These two do not carry the same weight for the US to lift sanctions.”

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He continued: “On the other hand, Russia is accused of interfering in the American presidential elections in the minds of the American public and anti-Russian feelings are escalating there. If Trump decides to lift sanctions against Russia, anti-Republican propaganda in the Congress elections will also increase. Hence, it seems Trump will not take such a risk.”

Nevertheless, Beheshtipour believes Velayati’s trip to Russia is not unrelated to the Syrian issue, and says: “Without a doubt, Valayati has an important agenda during his trip to Russia, such as Syria and the JCPOA, in both of which Israel is active. The latest negotiations will take place on these two issues with President Putin, especially as Putin is scheduled to meet Trump next Monday.”

Beheshtipour adds: “No important decisions will be taken at the Netanyahu-Putin meeting; but the Putin-Trump meeting may well hold a collusion, which is not necessarily to the detriment of Iran, because Russia and the US also differ on many issues.”

This expert on international affairs concludes: “Realistically, it must be said that Russia is unable to force Iran out of Syria without the Syrian government’s consent. Secondly, this is not what Russia wants currently and is mostly just playing this card; although it may change its mind in the future. Thirdly, given Russia's good relations with Israel and Iran, Russia's goal is to mediate between the two to avoid tensions in Syria. It will not sacrifice one side for the other.”

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