Assad, Ahmadinejad: Israel's Actions Prove It Doesn't Want Peace

Syrian President in Tehran for one-day visit; Ahmadinejad: Strengthening of anti-Israel resistance will stabilize regional peace.

The leaders of Iran and Syria, during a meeting in Tehran Saturday, expressed hope of expanding the anti-Israeli bloc in the region, adding that Israel's actions in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem proved the country did not truly want peace, the Iranian presidential office said in a statement.

Ahmadinejadת  Assad Reuters OCT 2, 2010

Syrian President Bashar Assad met with Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a one-day visit to Iran on Saturday. 

"The strengthening of the [anti-Israel] resistance movement will encourage other countries to join this bloc which then would eventually lead towards stabilizing regional peace," the statement quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in the talks with Assad.

According to the statement, Assad also said the momentum of Tehran-Damascus ties could strengthen resistance groups against Israel.

Iran supports militant groups Hamas in Gaza and the Hezbollah in Lebanon and has not acknowledged Israel's sovereignty since the 1979 Islamic revolution .

Assad was further quoted as saying that the latest Israeli- Palestinian peace talks in Washington did not change the regional political status quo and were merely aimed at increasing support for U.S. President Barack Obama inside the United States.

Ahmadinejad said within the same context that "the U.S. and the Zionist regime [Israel] have been disgraced in the region and that would eventually serve the real interests of regional people."

Both Assad and Ahmadinejad proclaimed that expansion of ties between Iran and Syria and political domination by the two states would not only benefit the region politically but also economically.

The official news agency IRNA reported earlier Saturday that the summit talks between Assad and Ahmadinejad were expected to focus mainly on Iraq, Lebanon and Syria's stance on the latest peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

IRNA also reported that Assad, who was accompanied by his Vice President Faruq al-Shara and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, was to be awarded Iran's national medal for his bravery, resistance and support for the anti-Israeli Hamas and Hezbollah groups.

The two leaders met for the second time in two weeks after Ahmadinejad invited Assad to a meeting in Tehran during his visit to the United Nations annual General Assembly meetings in New York in September.

Syria and Iran wield considerable influence in Iraq among different groups - Syria with Sunnis and Iraq among Shiites. Iraq has been locked in political stalemate since March elections, but Shiite groups now appear to have the edge.