News ID: 211691
Published: 0337 GMT March 14, 2018

Tehran downplays impact of Tillerson’s replacement on US ties

Tehran downplays impact of Tillerson’s replacement on US ties

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the replacement of US Secretary of State is a continuation of shakeups in Donald Trump’s government, playing down its impact on Washington’s Iran policy and the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Such replacements in the US establishment are not surprising. We have witnessed many changes in the incumbent administration so far,” Bahram Qassemi said on Wednesday, referring to the replacement of Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

The chief diplomat’s dismissal came after a series of public rifts over US policy on North Korea, Russia and Iran.

The decision was announced by the US president on Twitter as his administration works towards a potential meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after months of harsh rhetoric and rising tensions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, IFP wrote.

Qassemi, who was speaking in his last press conference in the Iranian year (ending March 20), described the replacement as a “domestic issue”.

“What matters to us is the US approach towards international issues and Iran. We will monitor US policies and act according to them,” he said, ISNA reported.

Analysts believe the move would sow more instability in the volatile Trump administration and marks the replacement of another moderate with a hawk, Reuters reported.

Tillerson had pressed Trump to stick with the nuclear agreement with Iran and other world powers.


Caution against ‘foolish’ moves


The spokesman also warned Washington against taking any “foolish” decisions with regards to Syria, as speculation mounts that the Trump administration is gearing up for a military strike against the country.

Qassemi advised Washington to carefully consider the implications before adopting any interventionist policies in the Middle East, Press TV reported.

“That America takes hostile actions against the countries of the region is nothing new but the US cannot intervene and this is a kind of invasion nonetheless,” said Qassemi.

“Nations in the region have shown that they will not accept foreign presence and we hope the US reconsiders this foolish decision,” he added.

There have been reports that the US and some of its Western allies partaking in an airstrike campaign against purported terrorist positions inside Syria are considering a large-scale military action against the Arab country under the pretext that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons against its people.

Syria has denied the allegations, arguing that it has no reason to resort to chemical weapons while its forces have the upper hand in the fight against terrorists.

Defending Tehran’s military advisory role in Syria, Qassemi said that unlike the US-led coalition, Iran’s presence in Syria has been based on an official request by Damascus to help it with the fight against terrorism.

“We hope that peace returns to Syria through diplomacy,” he said.

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