Mohammad Reza Sheibani, Iran’s last ambassador to Damascus who has recently returned to Tehran, vowed that Iranian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will remain until the very end. “Iran’s support for the legitimate Syrian government shows that it is a reliable ally and it will not abandon its allies… We will support our allies until the end.”
Sheibani also told the Iranian media that while “the Russians play an important role in Syria” – thanks Moscow’s veto power at the UN – it is “Iran’s military support on the ground that is decisive" in keeping Assad in power.
Sheibani was no doubt self-congratulatory in his comments and about his role as Iran’s ambassador to Damascus. Nonetheless, some of the key issues he raises in the interview show the depth of Tehran’s commitment to the Assad regime despite its genocidal policies against the Syrian opposition. And Sheibani barely hides Iran’s motivations. As he put it, the Syrian war was an opportunity for Iran to increase its regional influence.