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Strategic cooperation deal marks new chapter in Tehran-Damascus relations, Raeisi says

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has lauded a comprehensive agreement on long-term strategic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus, saying the deal marks the beginning of a new chapter in “brotherly and friendly ties” between the two Muslim nations.

Raeisi made the remarks on Thursday in a meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous in Damascus on the second day of his landmark visit to the Arab country.

The Iranian president called on the Syrian prime minister to pay special attention to the implementation of the deal and the agreements signed during his trip, and stressed that the two countries should expand cooperation in economic and trade spheres so that their nations would reap great benefits.

For his part, Arnous hailed Iran’s support for Syria throughout the Arab country’s foreign-backed militancy and conflict, and said the Syrian nation won’t forget Iran’s assistance in hard times.

He welcomed the expansion of Damascus-Tehran ties, and pledged to seriously follow up on the implementation of the 14 cooperation documents and the strategic cooperation deal signed between the two sides.

‘Be angry and die of anger’: Iran tells US after President Raeisi’s historic visit to Syria

The “comprehensive plan for strategic and long-term cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic” was signed by Iranian Raeisi and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad at the Syrian Presidential Palace in Damascus on Wednesday.

During the event, top officials and ministers from the two countries signed 14 other agreements on cooperation in various fields, including trade interaction, oil and energy industries, technical and engineering sectors, house construction, railroad and air transportation, free trade zones, private sectors, telecommunication, earthquake safety, rescue operation, and facilitation of pilgrimage.

Raiesi: Closer Iran-Syria economic ties to benefit both nations

Later on Thursday, Raeisi underlined the importance of bilateral economic relations between Tehran and Damascus, and said closer trade relationship will benefit both nations.

“Syria and Iran have managed to turn all threats and sanctions that enemies imposed against them into opportunities. The Islamic Republic of Iran has made tremendous [scientific and technological] progress despite all sanctions – something which has deeply stunned enemies. Such threats and sanctions will be turned into opportunities in Syria as well, and will accordingly bring about an improvement in the living conditions of dear Syrians,” Raeisi told a group of Iranian and Syrian business figures and entrepreneurs in Damascus.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi addresses a group of Iranian and Syrian business figures and entrepreneurs in Damascus, Syria, on May 4, 2023, on the second day of his landmark visit to the Arab country. (Photo by president.ir)

The Iranian president underlined that Iranian companies can help Syria with oil and gas exploration, petrochemical engineering, power generation and transmission, and share agricultural expertise with Damascus.

“We expect businessmen and entrepreneurs to shine brightly in the field of bilateral economic cooperation just as the Syrian government and nation managed to move past major difficulties and problems through resilience,” Raeisi said.

Raeisi’s two-day official visit to Syria, which started on Wednesday,  was the first by an Iranian president to the Arab country in over 13 years.

‘Iran a friend during difficult times’

In a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, the president said Iran is a friend of the regional countries during difficult times.

“Iran was a friend and supporter of the Syrian nation and government during the resistance period, and the brotherhood between the two resistant nations of Iran and Syria will continue,” he said.

The president said the resistance, especially in Palestine, has paralyzed the Zionist regime, and Israel’s expansionist and occupation policy has failed.

“The Zionist regime also planned to divide Syria with the support of the United States and Western countries, as well as the fielding of terrorist groups created by the United States, but they did not succeed,” he said.

President Raeisi said the Zionists are currently pursuing the same policy with the support of the West against Sudan in order to break up the country.

“The people of Sudan and the Muslim world must be careful of the Zionists’ plots and know that the most important need for Muslim nations today is unity,” he said.

The Islamic Republic, President Raeisi said, is the herald of unity among all Muslims.

Foreign Minister Mekdad touched on growing relations between Syria and Iran.

Iran, he said, has good capacities in the fields of economy, trade, energy, science and technology, which can be used to improve the level of relations between the two countries.

“We must seriously follow the implementation of agreements reached between the two countries.”

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