3 May 2023

President Raisi visited Syria and met with President Bashar al-Assad, asserting: “Just as the Islamic Republic stood by the Syrian government and nation in the fight against terrorism, it will also stand by its Syrian brothers in the field of development and progress". The two sides inked a “Comprehensive Program of Strategic and Long-Term Cooperation”, and fourteen other agreements in various fields, including oil and energy. Raisi, who described his trip within Iran’s ”framework of supporting the resistance”, also reiterated that “the presence of Americans in Syria not only does not create security, but also disrupts the security of Syria and the region. The faster the Americans leave Syria, the more secure Syria will be”. A U.S. diplomatic spokesperson maintained that “the Iranian regime and the Assad regime continuing to deepen their ties should be of great concern to not just our allies and partners and countries in the region, but also the world broadly”, adding: “We will not normalise relations with the Assad regime. And we do not support others normalising with Damascus either… The U.S. believes that a political solution that is outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254 is the only viable solution to this conflict in Syria”. The following day, Raisi met with Palestinians in Damascus, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials, insisting that “the unity and cohesion of the resistance forces, the region and the Islamic world is necessary to accelerate the defeat of the Zionist regime [ie, Israel] and the liberation of the Holy Quds and the sovereignty of the Palestinians over their destiny”.

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