NewsSpecial WireBeleaguered Iran and Syria forge stronger ties

Beleaguered Iran and Syria forge stronger ties

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jan. 07 – The new Iranian ambassador to Damascus, radical Shiite cleric Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, has been instructed to reassure Syria’s leaders of Iran’s continuing strong support for their beleaguered government, Iran Focus has learnt. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jan. 07 – The new Iranian ambassador to Damascus, radical Shiite cleric Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, has been instructed to reassure Syria’s leaders of Iran’s continuing strong support for their beleaguered government, Iran Focus has learnt.

Akhtari recently took up the post of Iranian ambassador to Damascus for the second time. From 1989 to 1998, while he was ambassador, the hard-line cleric was behind a number of attacks in the region orchestrated by Iranian intelligence and carried out by Iran’s proxies.

Iran’s official media have been pouring scorn on Syria’s former vice-president, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, calling him a “traitor” and “a tool in the hands of the Global Oppressor”, a reference to the United States.

Akhtari heads the World Assembly of Ahl-Bait, a government-run body that has an active recruitment drive targeting Muslims in other countries.

In 1996, during his first tenure as the top Iranian envoy to Damascus,
Akhtari said, “Tehran has obtained Muslim soldiers all over the world to bring the United States and Israel to their knees”. He described then U.S. President Bill Clinton and America’s allies as slaves of Israel whose time had reached an end.

“Islam will soon come and get you. Our soldiers have been sent to all the hills and corners of the world and they are ready to carry out martyrdom-seeking attacks everywhere”, Akhtari said.

Between 1998 and his reappointment as Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Akhtari worked in the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and was his principal Arab affairs adviser.

Earlier this week, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad defended Tehran in its “legitimate right” to carry out its nuclear activities.

In a meeting with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad-Reza Baqeri in Damascus, al-Assad described Israel as a regional threat.

The Syrian leader said that the Jewish state was a threat to both regional and global peace with its “huge atomic weapons arsenal”.

He also underlined the importance of Tehran-Damascus bilateral relations, and invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Damascus.

Iran’s state-run news agency reported on Saturday that Syria was setting up Persian language centres in three of its universities.

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