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Iran FM warns against Israeli presence in Caucasus region

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during a press conference in Turkey’s Ankara, on March 8, 2023.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said that the presence of the Israeli regime in the Caucasus region is among the important issues facing the region.

“Iran warns all parties to be vigilant about Israel and not let Israel’s presence in the Caucasus,” Amir-Abdollahian said while speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara on Wednesday.

He also said terrorism originating from Iraq’s northern region is a common threat to both Iran and Turkey.

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran and Turkey enjoy a high level of security cooperation regarding the fight against terrorism.

“Terrorism originating from Iraq’s Kurdistan region as well as the Daesh terrorism emanating from Afghanistan are among our common concerns,” he said. “We believe that terrorism is not good or bad, but an ominous phenomenon in any guise and form.”

He then made clear that within the framework of international law, Iran and Turkey reserve the right for a “legitimate defense against any terrorist act” from any direction and by any group.

Iran says supports thaw in Turkey-Syria ties

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian said Iran supports the restoration of relations between Turkey and Syria.

“We welcome the return of Turkey-Syria relations. We were interested in working to resolve misunderstandings between Syria and Turkey. We welcome participation in any quadripartite format.”

Cavusoglu, for his part, explained that Amir-Abdollahian wanted to join the tripartite talks between Turkey, Russia, and Syria, which were held two months ago, and that Ankara happily agreed.

The deputy foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran are meeting in Moscow next week ahead of planned talks between foreign ministers.

Meanwhile, Ami-Abdollahian said that Cavusoglu will soon visit Tehran and that consultations were made about Raeisi’s trip to Turkey.

The Iranian foreign minister arrived in neighboring Turkey earlier in the day "to express sympathy with the Turkish government and people" over last month’s devastating earthquake.

Speaking upon his arrival at Ankara airport, Amir-Abdollahian said he will visit Turkey’s quake-hit areas.

“I have come to this country to express sympathy with the Turkish nation and government,” he said.

“We will also discuss the latest international developments and bilateral relations in a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister,” he added.

During the joint press conference, the top Iranian diplomat said that from the first hours of the earthquake, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raeisi issued orders to help the Muslim Turkish people.

“Even though aid workers were involved in providing relief to the earthquake victims in [the northwestern Iranian city of] Khoy, the IRCS, the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) immediately entered Turkey’s earthquake-hit areas and provided their services ranging from search [and rescue] to support and relief works. It is because we consider Turkey’s pain as that of ours,” he noted.

Ami-Abdollahian further said that Cavusoglu will soon visit Tehran and that consultations were made about Raeisi’s trip to Turkey.

Cavusoglu thanked Iran’s assistance after the natural disaster, saying, Iran helped the quake victims by sending humanitarian aid via ground and air

A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and series of aftershocks struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6.

The official death toll has exceeded 52,000 in both countries, with millions still displaced and in desperate need of basic assistance.

Thousands of buildings have been collapsed or heavily damaged in the powerful tremor.

Iran was among the first countries that rushed to the aid of both Turkey and Syria by sending tons of medical, food and sanitary aid. Teams from the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) were also dispatched to the quake-stricken areas for search and rescue operations.

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