Rouhani says beating Syria militants is priority, not govt reform

NEW YORK, Sept 28:  Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said fighting radical militants like Islamic State in Syria is the top priority and if they are to be defeated then President Bashar al-Assad’s government “can’t be weakened.”    “This does not mean that the Syrian government does not need reform … Of course it does,” Rouhani told an audience of US think-tanks and journalists, but he added that the removal of his ally Assad would turn Syria into an extremist safe haven.    Referring to air strikes by a US-led coalition on Islamic State targets in Syria, Rouhani said defeating the militants was “not feasible through air operations only.” He said Russia “is ready to fight terrorism.” (AGENCIES)

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