TEHRAN- In a highly important meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran said Syria has managed to overcome obstacles and come out on top despite all the threats and sanctions on the country.
In the first visit by an Iranian president to Syria in over 13 years, Raisi arrived in Damascus on Wednesday for a two-day official trip. The visit took place upon on an official invitation from the Syrian president.
Four ministers, Iran’s top banker, Raisi’s chief of staff and his chief political advisor were accompanying him during the visit.
“The Syrian government and people have overcome major challenges and problems, and today we can say that you were able to win the war despite the threats and sanctions imposed on you,” Raisi told Assad.
Syria has been sanctioned by the United States since 1979. After 2011, when the country was gripped by rampant foreign-backed militancy and terrorism, the U.S. and its Western allies imposed more such bans on Damascus.
The Caesar Act, which was passed by Congress in 2019 and targeted any person or organization that took part directly or indirectly in Syria’s reconstruction operations, increased the penalties even more.
Raisi praised relations between Iran and Syria as “rich, fruitful, and full of experiences,” noting that they remained strong even through hard times during West Asia’s severe political and security unrest.
Regional and trans-regional shifts have not affected the cordial ties between Damascus and Tehran, he said.
“The Iran-Syria relations are bound to the blood of our beloved martyrs, especially General Qassem Soleimani, and this is vital to the stability and strength of the ties between the two countries,” Raisi stressed.
He went to add, “Today, the validity of Iran’s and Syria’s position has been amply displayed and those who had questions about Iran’s political stance are now convinced that it was fair and appropriate.”
As it did during the fight against terrorism, Raisi emphasized, the Islamic Republic will support its Syrian brothers throughout the period of rehabilitation and growth following more than a decade of war.
Assad says Syria-Iran relations are rich
Assad, for his part, praised Iran for its support of Syria during the turmoil and declared that the Syrians will never forget Iran’s help through their times of trouble.
As this relationship has remained stable even during tough times when there have been significant political and security storms in West Asia, “Syria-Iran relations are rich and full of experience,” the Syrian leader pointed out.
Iran was urged by President Assad to take a more active position in bringing about long-term peace to his country and rebuild the war-torn regions.
In order to advance the interests of the two countries as well as those of other nations in the region, the two presidents additionally underlined the significance of the long-term cooperation plan between Iran and Syria.
Iran, Syria ink long-term strategic partnership
A “long-term strategic comprehensive cooperation” agreement was signed by the presidents of Iran and Syria.
The importance of the Iran-Syria long-term cooperation plan for furthering the interests of the two countries and other nations in the region was emphasized at a meeting between the two presidents earlier in the day.
In the meantime, representatives from the two states signed 14 documents covering a range of topics, including trade, energy and environment, engineering, housing, rail and air travel, free zones, communications and technology, earthquake relief, and the facilitation of pilgrimage to the two states’ holy sites.
“Iran’s policies founded on reason, resistance”
Before departing Tehran for Damascus, Raisi told reporters that today “it has become clear to everyone that the stances of Iran are based on rationality, prudence, truthfulness, resistance, and perseverance.”
He described the relationship between Iran and Syria as “completely strategic” and said the purpose of his visit is to strengthen ties with the Arab nation on the economic, political, and security fronts.
Raisi went on to say, “The two countries are committed to advancing their relations, and there are many opportunities to increase cooperation.” He added, “We are working to expedite the implementation of the agreements between the two countries in our discussions, and I am confident that the development of ties between Tehran and Damascus will be advantageous to the two countries as well as the region.”
Raisi emphasized the distinctive characteristics of the relationship between Iran and Syria, noting that opponents have constantly tried to split apart Syria and sour its relations with neighboring nations.
“Economic cooperation boosts resistance front”
Abbas Golroo, the chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said on Wednesday that Raisi’s visit to Syria is in line with strengthening the resistance front and signing trade deals with the Syrian side.
According to Golroo, the visit and signature of the agreements can improve Tehran-Damascus connections and give the resistance front more power to oppose the Zionist regime of Israel.
He also emphasized that political and economic ties between Iran and Syria are presently at their strongest level.
“Raisi’s historic visit proves US failed policies in region”
Mohammad Jamshidi, Raisi’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, noted that the “historic visit” to Syria is regarded proof of Tehran’s triumph over the U.S. failed policies in the region.
He also said that a number of documents will be signed during the trip to enhance economic cooperation between the two nations as part of efforts to make Iran’s active economic presence on the Mediterranean coast a reality.
One of the subjects that will be discussed at the discussions, according to Jamshidi, is the presence of Iranian tourists and pilgrims in Syria as well as improvement of transit infrastructure.
Jamshidi stressed that Iran has faced geopolitical obstacles, including the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the rise of Daesh, and spread of terrorism, over the last several years.
The adversaries’ political strategies have failed, and Iran popped up triumphantly, he said.
He noted that the Iranian president’s visit shows that U.S. regional strategies have failed.
Israeli media: Felicity for resistance, failure for Israel
After such a historic visit, Israeli media outpoured with reactions as they believed that Raisi’s visit is “an achievement” for the resistance front and “a weakness” for the Tel Aviv regime.
Retired Israeli general officer, General Amos Gilead, said in a radio interview that “the Iranians believe Israel is currently vulnerable.”
Leading Israeli expert on Iran, Raz Zimmt, called the visit “an influential issue,” adding that everything else would be a “success” for the resistance front aside from the signing of significant commercial deals.
Another correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot who covers the military, called the trip a “lost opportunity” for the occupying regime.