Business Insider quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on Iran’s interests in Syria after being invited to attend peace talks with the United States and Russia:

As Iran’s most crucial ally in the region, Syrian President Bashar Assad is critical to Iran’s retaining its bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon andpreserving its geopolitical influence along the eastern Mediterranean.

“It is unlikely that the US or anyone else will be able to talk Tehran out of supporting Hezbollah from Syria or dropping its support for Bashar al-Assad,” Frederic Hof, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former special advisor for transition in Syria under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Business Insider by email.

He added: “Iran considers Assad to be a valuable and irreplaceable tool in the context of Hezbollah, and considers him personally to be the heart of a supportive and even subordinate regime.”

Read the full article here.

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