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Syrian, Iranian presidents hold talks in Tehran

TEHRAN, Aug. 2 (Mehr News Agency) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad started a landmark two-day visit to Tehran on Saturday. He was formally greeted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential headquarters. Immediately after his arrival the two presidents started their private talks.

A high ranking delegation including Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is accompanying the Syrian president. It is Assad's third visit to Tehran since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005. His last visit dates back to February 2007.

The Syrian president announced a few weeks that he will visit Tehran to respond to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's request and use his good ties with Iran to help resolve Tehran's nuclear stand-off with the West.

The visit followed Assad's meeting with Sarkozy in Paris on July 12 where France hosted a meeting of Mediterranean states.

Syria has backed Iran's right to nuclear technology and insisted that Iran's nuclear program is only aimed at peaceful purposes.

Iran and Syria are two strategic allies in the Middle East. The two countries have developed extensive economic and political ties.

Senior Syrian officials have rejected rumors that Damascus will be ready to cut ties with Tehran as part of a deal if Israel agreed to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights.

... Payvand News - 08/02/08 ... --

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