TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC)-"All the forces entering Syria without the permission of the official leadership must exit," Zarif said during a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut on Monday.
He added that Iran is making efforts to contribute to finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria, emphasizing that any solution must protect the country’s territorial integrity.
Zarif's remarks came after a senior commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said earlier in the day that enemies of the Islamic Republic must finally leave the region instead of expecting Iran to end its regional presence.
"They want Iran to leave the region to clear the way for their dominance and allow them once again to control our borders [in order] to be able to create problems for the Iranian nation," Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the IRGC's second-in-command, said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in January threatened to “expel” all Iranian forces in Syria, describing Washington’s declared troop withdrawal from Syria as a “tactical change” and added that the American mission to counter Iranian influence there remained the same.
The US has repeatedly lambasted Iran for its presence in Syria. At the request of Damascus, Iran has been providing military advisory assistance to Syrian government forces fighting an all-out foreign-sponsored militancy.
Elsewhere in the presser, Zarif expressed confidence that the new Lebanese government would succeed in solving the political crisis in the country.
"We will always support the [Lebanese] people and extend a helping hand in every way possible, and we are ready to respond to the Lebanese government’s request to cooperate with it in any vital area it deems appropriate” the top Iranian diplomat said.
Late last month, Lebanon's presidency announced the formation of the new national unity government, putting an end to a nine-month stalemate on the political stage, which fueled the Arab country's economic woes.
The new government, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, includes 30 ministers from most Lebanese political factions, which have been in talks after the country in May 2018 held its first parliamentary elections in nine years.
Speaking to reporters in the Lebanese capital on Sunday, shortly after his arrival for the two-day official visit, Zarif said Tehran is ready to cooperate with the new Lebanese government in all sectors.