File - Iran's Deputy Minister for Arab and Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian attends a news conference in Moscow, September 10, 2013. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)
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Iran, Syria's main regional ally, does not see President Bashar Assad staying in power indefinitely but neither does it want "extremist forces" to replace him, a senior Iranian diplomat said Wednesday.Hossein Amir-Abdolahian, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs, added in an interview that Iran hoped to have talks in a month or so with Saudi Arabia, Tehran's regional rival, to address their differences about the Middle East. Amir-Abdolahian insisted Iran's aid to Syria was limited to humanitarian goods such as food and medicine and said military aid would not end the 3-year-old war, which has cost an estimated 140,000 lives and uprooted millions.Amir-Abdolahian expressed readiness to meet his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, but said Iran was waiting for Saudi Arabia to specify the exact date.
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