Only a day after TABNAK, a website close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, published a report revealing Iranian-Russian disputes over reconstruction in Syria, the reformist newspaper Qanon employed the report in unveiling newer dimensions on the Moscow -Tehran disagreement over post-war Syria.
Qanon wrote that “nothing is Iran’s share of the Damascus market”. It added that Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad has removed Iran out of the equation for the post-ISIS Syria. Reconstruction contracts are being recorded in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin “despite the high costs paid by Iran,” the newspaper said.
It also reported that President Hassan Rouhani congratulating Assad after announcing victory over ISIS was a pretext to build up towards the argument on reconstruction after fears mounted on Tehran losing true opportunity at the Syrian market.
The newspaper also warned against China eyeing competition with Iran and the narrowing down the market space for Iranian companies. Mostly, Iran fears the repetition of the Afghan market situation for Iranians in Syria and Iraq.
TABNAK published the report on Thursday before withdrawing it minutes later. By the time of the take back, the report had already prompted the attention of Iranian media outlets to address differences between Tehran and Moscow on sharing quotas in Syria after war. The report accuses Russia and the Syrian regime of “dodging” Iran in terms of economic partnership.
This is not the first time Iranian media discusses Iranian-Russian differences in Syria. In September 2016, Khamenei’s military adviser, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, spoke in a televised interview about Iranian fears of a Russian-American agreement “that does not take Iran’s share into account.”
At the time, he said he hoped “Washington will not fool Moscow in this game so that it gains more while Iran does less.”
“We are present in Syria and Iraq and we will cooperate in reconstruction efforts,” former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsen Rafighdoost said In November.
On that note, TABNAK also cited an “understanding between Moscow and Damascus for establishing an economic partnership whereby Iranian companies are cut out of economic activity, especially in the reconstruction phase in Syria.” According to the site, the new economic alliance obliges Damascus to obtain Russian approval if Iran wants to invest in the Syrian market.
The website claimed that the report was based on information from the Iranian government and not “media speculation”, taking proof in concern among Iranian officials.