US intelligence chief: Russia cannot and will not influence Iran in Syria

Russia has neither the desire nor the ability to influence Iran’s actions in Syria, stated US National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats at a forum on security in Aspen, Colorado.

Coats was asked whether he thinks Russia “has enough influence” to force the Iran-backed forces to leave Syria. The possibility of such an agreement between Russia and the US has been discussed recently by the American press.

According to Coats, US intelligence considers it “unlikely that Russia has the desire or the ability… to oppose the Iranian decisions and influence” in Syria.

The intelligence director believes that in such a scenario, Russia “would have to take on significantly more obligations from a military and economic point of view”. “We don’t think they want to do that,” Coats remarked. His speech was broadcast on the forum website.

General Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command, said on Thursday that the Pentagon has not yet received any new instructions concerning a potential collaboration with the Russian Armed Forces in Syria following the Trump-Putin summit.

The first full-format US-Russia negotiations since Trump’s election in 2016 took place on July 16 in Helsinki. Before this, Trump and Putin had only had interactions on the sidelines of multilateral meetings.

  Russia, US intelligence, Vladimir Putin, Syria