04/13/2006, 00.00
SYRIA – IRAN

Rafsanjani in Damascus to confirm Iran-Syria ties

by Jihad Issa
US pressures are the main reason for the two countries' strategic alliance. Iran's former president meets Assad and Hezbollah leader.

Damascus (AsiaNews) – US pressures on Iran and Syria is the main reasons for the strategic alliance between the two countries, this according to former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. He made the remarks after meeting Syrian President Bashar el-Assad on the first day of his visit to Syria.

Talking to journalists, Rafsanjani said that relations between Iran and Syria were very close, adding that "the two sides would continue their cooperation on issues related to Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq."

In reiterating the close relationship that binds the two countries, which unfair US pressures could only draw closer than ever, Rafsanjani was confident that Saudi Arabia could play an important role.

"Given the wisdom of the Saudi king, we are sure that he can help settle issues in the entire region," he said. In addition, King Abdullah's credentials with the US and Arab countries can play an important role.

The former president referred to Syria's founder, Hafez el-Assad, as a key player in developing Syrian-Iranian ties. He said relations were excellent due to the late Syrian president's courageous initiative in backing the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the ayatollah Khomeini, in 1979.

Rafsanjani thanked the Syrian government for its support during the Iran-Iraq war, something that dispelled any doubts that it was a war between Persians and Arabs, and the current President Assad for the climate of trust and mutual cooperation in all fields, political, social and security between the two countries.

In a critical jab at the US, which is involved in Lebanon and Iraq, he said his country won't abandon Syria.

Rafsanjani addressed the Muslim world, which is under threat because of Western hatred. He indicated that cooperation, love and harmony in the Muslim world and the region are the only path to solve all problems.

In Damascus Rafsanjani also met Hassan Nassrallah, Hezbollah secretary general, with whom he discussed the current situation in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon and Syria.

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