Assad - AP file photo - released 31.7.11
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivering a speech in Damascus, Syria, on June 20, 2011. Photo by AP
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Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salihi warned Saturday of a political vacuum in Syria if the regime was toppled, but asserted that the Syrian government should meet the legitimate demands of its people.

"A vacuum in the Syrian regime would have an unpredictable impact for the region and its neighbors," Salihi was quoted by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA)as saying.

The Iranian official was referring to calls by the United States and European leaders for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

Salihi, whose country is a main backer of the Syrian regime, asserted that the "government should answer to the demands of its people, be it Syria, Yemen or other countries."

"The people of these nations have legitimate demands and the governments should reply to these demands as soon as possible," Salihi added.

An estimated 2,200 people have been killed in Syria since protests began in mid-March, according to the United Nations. At least 350 people have been killed since the start of Ramadan on August 1.