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Iran-Syria accord first step to defang US Caesar sanctions: Assad's top aide

Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

A senior aide to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has hailed a comprehensive military-security deal recently signed with Iran as the first step to overcome sweeping US economic sanctions against the Arab country, saying Damascus has many other options to counter American restrictions.

In an interview with Yemen's al-Masirah TV channel on Friday, Assad’s political and media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, said Syria, like Iran, can turn the siege imposed on her homeland into an opportunity.

"We have many options to defeat the Caesar law," she said. "The signing of the Iran-Syria military agreement is the first step in this regard."

During a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri signed an agreement with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub to strengthen military and defense ties between the two countries.

The accord came less than a month after Washington imposed new sanctions on Syria under the so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. 

The sanctions act, which came into effect on June 17 six months after being signed into law by US President Donald Trump, targets individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that operate either directly or indirectly in Syria's economy.

Shaaban denounced the Caesar Act as an illegal measure, whose implementation amounts to a crime against the Syrian nation.

Assad’s adviser also noted that the US law enables the continuation of the US-led aggression against Syria and shows the hostility towards the resistance axis.

Syria, she added, will boost cooperation with other member countries of the resistance front and turn to Russia and China.

"As the blockade made the Islamic Republic of Iran stronger, we can also turn the siege into an opportunity to become stronger," Shaaban said.

Earlier this week, the Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah praised Iran for making progress despite illegal US sanctions.

 “Iran is a self-sufficient model, why are you afraid of this model?” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah asked.

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