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Zarif, Lavrov Say US Attacks In Iraq, Syria 'Unacceptable'

Zarif, Lavrov Say US Attacks In Iraq, Syria 'Unacceptable'

Tuesday, 31 December, 2019 - 07:30
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, December 30, 2019

The Russian and Iranian foreign ministries described on Monday the US strikes against several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades in Iraq and Syria late last week as “unacceptable,” while a joint press conference held by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers mainly focused on Syria, Libya, and the Nuclear Deal.

Russian FM Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Javad Zarif held talks in Moscow on Monday and the two men condemned last Sunday’s US airstrikes against a pro-Iran group in Iraq, which killed at least 25 fighters.

Tehran described the attacks as “a clear example of terrorism,” and it called on the US to respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a statement released Monday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi also condemned the attacks and said: “the US has demonstrated its decisive support for terrorism and disregard for the independence and sovereignty of nations by launching these attacks, and it must accept the responsibility for the consequences of such illegal measure.”

For his part, member of the national security and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Parliament, Hishmatallah Falahat Beeshah, warned that the “US challenge in Iraq could be a trap used against Iran and which Tehran must avoid.”

Washington military carried out airstrikes on Sunday against the Kataib Hezbollah militia in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.

In Moscow, Zarif condemned Sunday’s attack and he renewed his previous accusations against Washington for killing people in Iraq and Syria under the pretext of defending itself.

"Unlike the US which sheds the blood of people in Iraq and Syria thousands of miles farther from its borders under the pretext of defending itself, and the unbelievable US measure yesterday was one of

these cases, Iran and Russia cooperated for peace in Iraq and Syria and the Astana process is a successful instance," Zarif said after his meeting with Lavrov in Moscow.

For his part, Russia’s FM said the US airstrikes were unacceptable and counterproductive, and he urged all sides to avoid fuelling tensions in the region, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US had not informed Russia about the strikes.

Lavrov and Zarif also tackled the Nuclear Deal a few days before the expiry of a fourth deadline, offered by Iran to the European signatories to meet Tehran’s list of demands.

The Russian FM said the US and the European Union should either comply with the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran or recognize it as nonexistent.

“The European signatories to the deal were not taking any practical steps" to support it,” he said.

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