[QODLink]
INSIDE STORY
Mocking US policy
Syria and Iran defend their ties as the US urges Damascus to distance itself from Tehran.
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2010 09:24 GMT

Syria has shaken politicians in the West by hosting a meeting between two of the Middle East's most controversial leaders. 
 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, and Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, met in Damascus last week.

Both Syria and Iran support Hezbollah and that has been cited as a major issue in negotiations with the US.
 
In a joint news conference the Iranian president accused the US of trying to dominate the region saying that the US should not dictate relationships in the Middle East. 
 
And Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, said that ties between Iran and Syria had never been closer.
 
In a further show of unity, they signed an agreement cancelling visa restrictions between their countries.
 
The agreement has been seen as a snub to the US as Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said only last week that the US would like Syria to "begin to move away from the relationship with Iran, which is so deeply troubling to the region as well as to the United States".

Since the Obama administration took over, the US has been trying to develop its relationship with Syria - and recently it had seemed to be warming.

Have US overtures failed to break the three-decade Syrian-Iranian alliance? And how will it affect the nuclear issue?

Inside Story presenter Sami Zeidan is joined by Samir al-Taqi, the director of the Orient Center for International Studies in Damascus, Rime Allaf, an associate fellow at Chatham House specialising in Syria and Iran, and Kenneth Katzman from the Congressional Research Service.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, February 28, 2010.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list