White House: Trump ‘open’ to working with Iran to end Syria war


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Trump administration is open to working with Iran to end the Syria conflict.

“The United States remains open to working together with both Russia and Iran to find a solution that leads to a stable and united Syria,” Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said Monday in opening remarks at the daily press briefing. “But in order for us to work together to bring an end to the violence in Syria, Russia and Iran need to acknowledge the atrocities of the Assad regime and use their influence to stop them.”

It appeared to be the first time that the Trump administration indicated readiness to work with Iran on the issue, although Spicer, in his remarks, said the position had been enunciated before. In the wake of a gas attack last month that killed 86 people, Trump’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that “Syria, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace.”

The remarks came as Spicer gave specifics on how the Trump administration perceives the Syria war, saying the president favored a transparent transition from the Assad regime’s hold on power.

The Obama administration negotiated a nuclear rollback deal with Iran, but also went to lengths to avoid any collaboration with Iran in Syria, where both countries were involved in targeting Islamist terrorist groups.

Spicer was unstinting in assigning Russia and Iran blame for propping up Assad in the Syria civil war. “The Assad regime has sunk to a new level of depravity, and it has done so with seemingly unconditional support from Russia and Iran,” he said.