The Iranian parliamentary delegation visiting Damascus Sunday, Sept. 1, advised Bashar Assad to move his chemical stockpile out of Syria and deposit it in Tehran under Iranian and Russian military supervision, to save himself from an American military strike, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and Iranian sources reveal.
Chairman of the Majlis Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ala-Eddin Borujerdi, who headed the delegation, explained that Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin had discussed the stockpile’s removal ad hoc, as the basis of a Iranian-Russian plan for presenting to US President Barack Obama at the G-20 summit meeting in St. Petersburg later this week.
After the Americans accept the plan and the crisis blows over, the stockpile could be quietly returned to Syria, the Iranian lawmaker explained.
Another option was for Iranian and Russian teams to destroy the stockpile in return for US-Arab League guarantees that the Syrian rebels would not use this process for strategic war gains. The chemical agents would be destroyed in stages in accordance with rebel compliance with such guarantees.
DEBKAfile’s military sources explain Tehran’s quest for a deal on two grounds: One – Iran supplied Syria with most of the formulae and substances for the manufacture of the poison agents and fears exposure if they fall into American hands.
Another is anxiety lest an American military strike on Syria’s chemical stores – if it is allowed to go through – would serve as a precedent or prequel for a similar attack on Iran’s nuclear assets.