Rouhani reaffirms alliance with Syrian gov't
New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that no change will affect a close alliance with the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, promising that it will remain strong.
“No force in the world can shake the solid, strategic and historic relations that bind the two countries in friendship,” Rouhani told Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi on Sunday, who was in Tehran for the Iranian president's swearing-in.
“Syrian-Iranian relations are based on understanding and a common destiny,” the Syrian Arab News Agency quoted Rouhani as saying.
The new president pledged “Iran's unwavering support for the Syrian people and government, in order to restore stability, face up to challenges, support efforts for reform and find a peaceful solution to the crisis.”
The two governments have been close allies since the 1980 invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, when Damascus took Tehran's side in the ensuing eight-year war.
Iran has been the main regional ally of Assad's regime in its efforts to defeat an uprising against his rule that erupted in March 2011, sparking a conflict in which the U.N. says more than 100,000 people have died.
The Syrian prime minister present at the ceremony handed Rouhani a letter from Assad in which he “insisted on reinforcing the strategic relations” between the two countries, SANA said.
He said the two governments had the “will to face up to conspiracies of the West, the United States and their tools in the region, who are seeking to weaken the axis of resistance.”