‘Iran not seeking to dominate Mid East’

Tehran: Iran is not seeking to “dominate” the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, according to the Iranian presidency.
“Our presence in Iraq and Syria is at the invitation of the governments of those countries to fight terrorism,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in a telephone call with Macron.
Rouhani said “Iran does not seek to dominate” the region, but was instead working “for peace and security and to avoid the dismembering of countries”.
The comments come days after France’s foreign minister sparked Tehran’s ire by accusing it of “hegemonic” ambitions in the Middle East.
Iran declares ‘victory’ over IS
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday declared “victory” over the IS in Iraq and Syria as the group clinged to just a few remaining scraps of territory.
Iran is one of the main international backers of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and has sent military advisers and thousands of “volunteers” to fight IS on the ground in Syria and Iraq.
In a televised speech Rouhani thanked “all the fighters of Islam”, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the armed forces of Iraq and Syria for “the end of this group that brought nothing but evil, destruction, murder and savagery”. He congratulated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its foreign arm the Quds Force for a “great victory” but insisted that the “main work was accomplished by the people and armies of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon”.
“We helped them in accordance with our religious and Islamic duties,” he said. Iranian media on Sunday and Monday showed footage of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal, reporting he personally directed operations that recaptured the IS’s final urban bastion over the weekend.
In a message released by the Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani congratulated supreme leader Khamenei on this “decisive victory” over IS. — Agencies