Iran's Rohani Urges Assad to Confront Israel 'Until Liberation of All Occupied Lands'

On first visit of new Syrian FM to Iran, Tehran renews support for Syrian leadership

The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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President Hassan Rohani in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, December 2, 2020.
President Hassan Rohani in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, December 2, 2020.Credit: ,AP
The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Tuesday his country will continue to support Syria, urging Damascus to confront Israel in the Golan Heights.

Rohani's website said the remarks came during a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

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"The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its support to the Syrian government and people as our strategic ally and we will stand by Syria until its final victory.”

Rohani said confronting “Zionist occupiers and terrorism” is the joint goal of both nations. “Until the liberation of all occupied lands including the Golan, confronting Zionist occupiers,” should continue, said Rohani.

It was Mekad’s first visit to Iran as foreign minister after he assumed his post in November. He arrived in Tehran on Monday.

Iran has been a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the beginning of Syria's civil war in 2011, lending his government in Damascus vital military and economic support.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports anti-Israel militant groups like the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Israel accuses Iran of building up its military presence along its northern frontier with Syria and has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. Iran-backed forces have made at least two separate attempts to plant explosives in Israeli territory this year.

Both times, the Israeli military found out about the attempts before they could be carried out. In August, they killed all four members of a squad trying to smuggle themselves beyond Israeli lines; and in November, they struck targets inside Syria associated with Unit 840, a subdivision of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force, which was behind the two events, according to Israeli intelligence.

Israel is also suspected at striking targets inside Iran in the last year, mostly focusing on the country's nuclear ambitions. Iran accuses Israel of carrying out a targeted assassination in Iran last month on the father of the country's nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, for which it has promised retaliation. The two countries have also been locked in a covert cyber war

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