Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says there is widespread agreement among countries that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in office.
Rouhani said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that “everyone has accepted” that President Assad must remain.
He added that the initial objective in Syria is to “drive out” the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, which can only be done by strengthening the central government.
The Iranian president also said after levels of success are gained in defeating terrorists in Syria, “other plans must be put into action so as to hear the voices of the opposition as well.”
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria has reportedly claimed about 250,000 lives since March 2011.
President Rouhani also stated that Iran was not engaged in talks with the US over the conflict in Syria. “Iran, with the United States, does not have any direct talks vis-a-vis Syria.”
US prisoner swap
Rouhani, who is currently in New York for the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, said Tehran will consider the release of three Americans held in Iran if the US frees Iranian prisoners.
“If the Americans take the appropriate steps and set them free, certainly the right environment will be open and the right circumstances will be created for us to do everything within our power and our purview to bring about the swiftest freedom for the Americans held in Iran as well,” said Rouhani.
Nuclear agreement opposition
Questioning the reliability of US Republican candidates who are currently attacking Iran’s recent nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries, the Iranian president said some of them could not even find Iran on the map.
On July 14, Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – finalized the text of a nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Under the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the lifting of all economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.