Iran seeks united front with Syria

Iran's new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has received his Syrian counterpart, the first head of state to visit since his inauguration.

    Asad (R) is the first head of state to visit Ahmadinejad

    The two leaders reiterated that their two countries should form a united front against their opponents.

    President Bashar al-Assad emphasised terrorism in his comments after arriving in Tehran on Sunday for a two-day visit. "Iran and Syria should pay attention to terrorism, which is spreading in the Middle East," al-Assad said.

    Both Iran and Syria are under pressure and facing sanctions from the United States. Washington accuses them of supporting militant groups such as Lebanon's Hizb Allah and radical Palestinian factions.

    The United States says Syria is not doing enough to stop fighters crossing into Iraq to join the insurgency. It accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons under cover of a nuclear energy programme.

    United front

    "Common threats deserve the formation of a united front by Iran and Syria more than ever"

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
    Iranian president

    "Common threats deserve the formation of a united front by Iran and Syria more than ever," Aljazeera quoted Ahmadinejad as saying at a joint press conference with al-Assad.

    "Boosting relations could protect the region from the threats," he added. 

    The Iranian leader did not identify the source of the threats but in a commentary on the visit, Iranian state television commented: "Cooperation between the two countries is important, because the United States and Israel have invaded the region."

    In February, during a visit by Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari to Tehran, Iranian and Syrian officials had spoken of forming a united front to counter external pressure.

    Countering US pressure

    But nothing concrete about such an alliance has emerged. The Iranian TV commentary added: "Syria considers boosting relations as a way of reducing US pressure on Damascus."

    A united front is meant to
    counter US pressure

    Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in on Saturday, described al-Assad, 39, as the youngest and most intelligent Arab head of state, reported Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

    Iran and Syria have long been close. Sunday's was al-Assad's fourth visit to Iran since he took office in 2000. During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, Syria was the only Arab country to support Iran.

    During the past 10 years, Iranian companies have invested more than $700 million in Syria in sectors such as power generation, cars, cement and agriculture, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.