Cash-strapped Iran is reining in some of its forces in Syria as a result of American sanctions, US envoy James Jeffrey said today.

“We have seen the Iranians pulling in some of their outlying activities and such in Syria because of, frankly, financial problems … in terms of the huge success of the Trump administration’s sanctions policies against Iran. It’s having a real effect in Syria,” said Jeffrey, the US special envoy for Syria policy and the fight against the Islamic State.

Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by the Washington-based Hudson Institute think tank, Jeffrey acknowledged reports that Iranian-supported forces have scaled back their presence in Syria, part of which he chalked up to the lack of ongoing fighting.

A cease-fire brokered in early March by Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, which supports some of the opposition groups seeking to oust him, is largely holding in the country’s embattled Idlib province.

But Jeffrey also linked the apparent drawdown to the Donald Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on the Islamic Republic. The coronavirus pandemic, plunging oil prices and tough economic sanctions imposed by the United States have crippled Iran’s economy.

“We do see some withdrawal of Iranian-commanded forces. Some of that is tactical because they are not fighting right now, but it also is a lack of money,” Jeffrey said.

Source » al-monitor