Syrian ruler Bashar Assad used his meeting with an Iranian official Wednesday to maintain that his country is sovereign and at liberty to do what it likes with its territory. He was responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Israel would not let Iran establish a permanent military presence in Syria. The Iranian official, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, is reported by DEBKAfile to have arrived in Damascus from Moscow. In both capitals he discussed the arrangements for the Congress of Syrian National Dialogue taking place in Sochi on Saturday, Nov. 18. The discussions were not aimed at obtaining Russian consent to obstructing Israeli air operations in Syria, as widely reported. They took place at the defense ministry, not the foreign ministry.