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Iran-Turkey cooperation must stop escalation of tensions in Syria

President Hassan Rouhani says the recent US-led military strikes against Syria were a “very ugly precedent” in international relations, stressing that joint Iran-Turkey cooperation must prevent the escalation of tension in the Arab country.

According to Press TV, in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, Rouhani said it is imperative for Tehran and Ankara to continue cooperation and consultation to promote peace in the region.

He added that the United States, Britain and France carried out an aggressive attack against Syria, saying, “It is a very ugly precedent in international relations that some powerful and bullying countries attack a country whenever they like.”

The early Saturday airstrikes hit three sites, one in Damascus, and two in the city of Homs, which US President Donald Trump claimed were “associated with the chemical weapon capabilities” of the Syrian government. Syria said it intercepted most of the missiles fires at it.

The tripartite Western countries announced that strikes were carried out as a punitive measure against Damascus for a suspected poison gas attack they claimed was purportedly conducted on April 7 by the Syrian government on Douma, the largest town in Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital, which reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.

The Iranian president pointed to Western powers’ dual and selective approach to the use of chemical weapons and said as among the biggest victims of such arms, Iran always condemns the use of chemicals by any country.

He said all countries must react to illegal meddling with regional issues, adding, “When nothing has been proven and inspectors of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have not announced the results of their research and investigations, no country or countries must be allowed to carry out a military action.”

Referring to a recent meeting among presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Ankara, Rouhani said, “Fighting against terrorism, ending the war in Syria and establishing security in the region are among the common goals of the three countries.”

He stressed the importance of tripartite cooperation given the ongoing developments in the region and said the three countries should focus on efforts to reduce tensions in Syria and prevent Western interference.

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey on April 4 reaffirmed their commitment to work toward achieving a sustainable ceasefire between warring sides in Syria and bringing peace and stability to the war-torn Arab country.

Iran’s Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, “reaffirmed their determination to continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties and advancement of the political process envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” said a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting of the three leaders in Ankara.