Meeting with Russian and Turkish counterparts under the “Astana Process” talks over Syria, President Rouhani asserted that U.S. sanctions against Syria were “economic terrorism” and pledged that Iran “will continue to support the people and the legitimate government of Syria with greater power. He went on to argue that “the illegitimate presence of the occupying forces of the U.S. regime on Syrian soil has become a destabilising factor for Syria and the entire region, and is plundering natural resources of the country by increasing its illegal military bases in Syria's oil-rich in the eastern Euphrates”. Rouhani further condemned “the increasing scope of the Zionist Regime's [ie, Israel’s] aggression on Syrian soil, and maintained that Israel’s “actions along with the occupation of the Golan Heights have been a factor in destabilising and threatening the peace and security of the region, and the occupying regime will face its consequences”. The meeting concluded with a joint statement emphasising that “there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it could only be resolved through the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254”. It further recognised “Israeli military attacks in Syria as destabilising and violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country and intensifying the tension in the region”.
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