On the 6th of December, the Iranian Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor Ali Akbar Velayati stated:
“Bashar al-Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s red line because he was elected president by the Syrian people,”.
Velayati is part of the unelected regime.
It is believed that the government of President Hassan Rouhani which is elected (after a controlled vetting process of the candidates by the Guardian Council) is more flexible when it comes to the fate of Assad.
The interview below with the well-known Tehran-based political analyst Ghanbar Naderi shows a more flexible narrative which I think is closer to the government’s view than that of the regime.