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‘Everyone has accepted’ Assad should stay: Rouhani


New York: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today he saw a widespread acceptance among major powers that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad should stay in office.

“I think today everyone has accepted that President Assad must remain so that we can combat the terrorists,” Rouhani told CNN.

Iran and Russia are the key allies of Assad, who has faced Western demands that he step down amid a war that has killed more than 240,000 people and caused four million to flee.

But the United States has been hitting Islamic State extremists opposed to Assad, with France on Sunday launching its first strike.

“In Syria, when our first objective is to drive out terrorists and combating terrorists to defeat them, we have no solution other than to strengthen the central authority and the central government of that country as a central seat of power,” said Rouhani, who is visiting New York for the UN General Assembly.

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