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Did Velayati Offer Assad Asylum? Iran Concedes Assad's Departure Soon To Come

10 December 2015

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

A series of personal messages indicate that Iran has finally decided to host Assad i.e. grant him asylum, and receive him in Tehran as a hero. A statement made by the Supreme Leader's advisor Velayati when he visited Syria and Lebanon a few days ago formed the basis of this indication. Did Velayati offer Assad asylum?

It appears that the rare ''positive'' climate in the middle of this destruction is responsible for these wishes. Other positive news include the terrorist organisation al-Nusra Front releasing kidnapped Lebanese soldiers in a deal arranged by Hezbollah and Qatar and the agreement that Suleiman Franjieh will be the new president of Lebanon after a long dispute over the post. All of this suggests that a series of breakthroughs has begun! Has Assad's departure really come?

If a senior Iranian official like Velayati announces that they will grant Assad asylum, it would be a very important development that would not pass by governments and the press unnoticed. I have not found any mention of this except in Syrian opposition media which is, of course, not a reference for news on the regime. After a long search, I discovered the complete video of Velayati's interview with Al-Mayadeen television channel. At the end of the interview, the presenter asked the Iranian guest whether Iran would host Assad soon ''especially since he visited Moscow a month ago''.

The question hints at the fact that Tehran is refraining from hosting Assad. Velayati answers her by saying that ''The presence of Assad in Damascus is necessary and when the duty arises, we will receive him in Iran. There is no attempt to impose anything on Mr Assad on our part or for him to leave the area. We do not want him to leave his country, and when he wants to visit Iran, we are ready to welcome him warmly. We will receive him as a hero as he has defended his people for the last 5 years and we do not want his position to become vacant''.

Anyone listening to the last part of Velayati's answer would think that he welcomes granting asylum to Assad. However, the question was clear in that it was asking why Assad had not yet been received in Tehran after he had visited Moscow.

Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai. 



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