Iran president arrives in Syria

The presidents of Iran and Syria were meeting for talks in Damascus -- two regional allies facing prospects of showdowns with the U.N. Security Council.

Iran president arrives in Syria

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived for an official two-day visit aimed at holding talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara welcomed Ahmadinejad at Damascus' airport, the news agency said, and Al-Assad was to host a welcome ceremony for Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace within hours.

"Tehran and Damascus have a common stance on Islamic and regional issues," Ahmadinejad told reporters before departing for Damascus, according to IRNA.

Relations between the two countries have improved, he said, following the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Ahmadinejad said that during his visit, he and al-Assad will confer on "bilateral, regional and international issues," IRNA reported, and the two will sign documents for economic and cultural cooperation.

Both Iran and Syria have recently faced international pressure: Iran over its nuclear program and Syria over its leaders' possible involvement in the February. 14 bombing assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In November, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi voiced support for Syria, although he noted those responsible for Hariri's death should be brought to justice.

"Syria is one of our friends," Asefi said, as reported by the semi-official Mehr news agency. "The actions that are taking place against this country, headed by Israel, is an injustice."

Syrian officials have denied any involvement in Hariri's death and has dismissed a report from a U.N. investigator that found evidence of involvement by Syrian leaders as false and politically motivated.

Iran, meanwhile, faces the threat of possible referral to the U.N. Security Council after it resuming research at its Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.

Tehran insists it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but the United States and the three European nations that conducted failed negotiations with Iran -- Britain, France and Germany, known as the EU3 -- want Iran to halt all nuclear activity, fearing it may try to build a nuclear weapon under the guise of a nuclear energy program.

Iran has refused, standing by its right to nuclear research, and is calling for an immediate resumption of negotiations with the EU3 to iron out any misunderstandings on its nuclear program.

The EU3, backed by the United States, has refused to resume negotiations until Iran replaces the seals on the Natanz plant and returns to its previous, voluntary moratorium on nuclear activity.

Source: CNN

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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