Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has voiced the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the elections in Syria as Damascus is set to hold a presidential vote in two weeks’ time.
Zarif made the remarks during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday.
He also expressed satisfaction with the Syrian government's preparations for the upcoming presidential election slated for May 26, and expressed hope that the vote would be held successfully.
The upcoming presidential vote will be the second since foreign-backed militancy broke out in Syria in 2011.
Incumbent Assad is among the three candidates out of 51 whose candidacy has been accepted to run in the vote.
In the meeting, Zarif also pointed to the crimes of the Israeli regime in the occupied territories against the defenseless people of Palestine, and condemned the atrocities in the strongest terms.
He also stressed the need for the intervention of international organizations as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in pursuing the rights of the Palestinian people, and highlighted the role of countries of the resistance front in this regard.
The promotion of bilateral relations, especially cooperation in the economic and cultural fields, as well as opening of Iranian consulates in the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Latakia were among other issues raised by Zarif in the meeting.
Zarif also briefed the Syrian president on the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as well as Iran’s measures in connection with the latest regional developments.
During the meeting, President Assad praised the Islamic Republic's support for Syria in the fight against the terrorist group of Daesh.
He also said Zarif’s visit in the run-up to the Syrian presidential election and amid the current situation in the Israeli occupied territories was of high significance.
The Syrian leader also shared Damascus’ views on the developments with the Iranian foreign minister.
Zarif tells counterpart: Iran supports Syria against extremism, terrorism
Separately on Wednesday, Zarif sat down with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, and voiced support for Syria’s relentless fight against terrorism.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the Syrian government and people against the sinister phenomenon of extremism and terrorism,” he said.
Zarif also hailed the victories achieved by Syria in the face of the US campaign of economic terrorism in imposing sanctions on Damascus, saying the Iranian and Syrian nations had fallen victim to the US medical terrorism, which deprived both countries of access to vaccines amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
During the meeting, Mekdad also appreciated the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the Syrian people and government, and stressed the need for cooperation between the two countries in international and regional organizations, as well as strengthening ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Iran to open consulate in Aleppo
Also on Wednesday, Zarif said that Iran is to open its consulate in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo, adding that the mission will be opened in the city following an earlier agreement by President Assad and the Arab country’s foreign ministry.
“I hope that the opening of the Iranian Consulate in Syria will help expand economic, cultural and trade cooperation between the two countries,” he told reporters after his meetings with President Assad as well as his counterpart.
The top Iranian diplomat also pointed to the upcoming Syrian presidential election, saying the vote is of “paramount importance to peace, security, stability and progress in Syria.”
He also expressed Iran’s readiness to act as an observer in the election.“We are ready to be present [in the process] as an observer of the election, and we hope the Syrian people will guarantee their future as well as order and security in Syria with their turnout.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif touched on his discussion with the Syrian side on the recent spike in Israel’s acts of aggression against the Palestinians.
“We talked about the situation in the [Israeli] occupied territories and the possibility of the situation getting worse. It is clear that Israel's aggression will be met with resistance, and it is the duty of the international community to intervene to prevent the continuation of Israeli aggression,” he said.
Israel claim of Iron Dome invincibility vain promise
Meanwhile, the Iranian foreign minister met with Damascus-based leader of the resistance front, during which he derided the invincibility claim of the Israeli regime.
“The heroic response of resistance groups against the Zionist regime showed that the claims of invincibility of the Iron Dome were false lies,” Zarif said.
He lauded the bravery of the Palestinian nation in the face of the recent spike in Israel’s acts of aggression, adding that the recent atrocities show that “normalization with the Zionist regime is against the Palestinian people and against the Muslim world.”
He pledged Iran’s unwavering support for the Palestinian nation. “We stand with the Palestinian people and we are proud to pay the price for this stand, as Syria pays for standing by the resistance of the Palestinian people.”
In the latest escalation of violence against Palestinians, Israeli warplanes have been bombing the Gaza Strip since Monday evening after Palestinian resistance groups fired several rockets at the Israeli occupied cities.
This came in the wake of a spike in the Israeli forces' attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds, especially worshippers in al-Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, since the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, the death toll from the heavy bombardment has stood at 53, including 14 children as Israeli drones continue to target homes and private cars in various parts of Gaza.
More than 300 others have been wounded as well.
Six Israelis have also been killed, with the Israeli army saying that about 1,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel.