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Syria and Iran: a long-term strategic agreement


Washington sees closer relations between Tehran and the Assad regime as a “cause of concern”

Yesterday, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi kicked off a two-day visit to Damascus by praising what he described as the “great victories” achieved by President Bashar al-Assad’s rule against his opponents. In a move that enshrines the traditional alliance between the two countries, Raisi and Assad signed a long-term “strategic” agreement.

Raisi’s visit to the Syrian capital is the first by an Iranian president since 2010, when former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited it, months before the start of popular protests against the regime. Raisi said, during extensive talks with Assad, that he blesses the “great victories that you (Syria’s) government and people achieved,” adding, “You achieved victory despite the threats and sanctions that were imposed against you.” He talked about Iran’s role in helping Iraq and Syria fight “takfiri groups,” as he described it, adding: “We stood by your side during the war period, and we will also stand by your side during this period, which is the period of reconstruction.”

As for Assad, he said during the talks that “the relationship between our two countries was built on loyalty,” referring to Syria’s support for Iran in its war against Iraq in the 1980s, and Tehran’s support for his regime against the opposition factions that have tried to overthrow him since 2011.

The official Syrian news agency, SANA, reported that Assad and Raisi had signed a “memorandum of understanding for a comprehensive long-term strategic cooperation plan.” She pointed out the signing of memorandums of understanding in the fields of agriculture, maritime, railways, civil aviation, free zones and oil.

In turn, the US State Department considered that closer relations between Iran and the Assad regime “should be a matter of concern to the world.”
Al-Assad and Raisi agree on “long-term strategic cooperation”