Iran vows 'unchangeable' support for Syria with 'experience and capabilities'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meeting with Syrian parliament speaker Jihad Lahham (L) in Tehran on July 4, 2012 (AFP Photo / Iranian Presidency / HO)
Iran has pledged more support for Syria amid mounting “foreign pressure" and promised not to leave its ally “alone in difficult times.”

Given that powers have united to damage the Syrian nation, Iran’s stance toward Syria is not changeable – it will always stand by its Syrian brothers,” Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, said on Thursday while meeting Syria’s deputy prime minister, Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji, in Tehran.

The secretary of Iran's National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, called relations between Iran and Syria “strategic”, saying that Tehran is ready to support Damascus "more than before in the face of foreign pressure."

In response, Ghalawanji expressed his gratitude to Iran, stressing that the West’s “cruel sanctions” against Syria have hit the Syrian people more than they have affected the government.

Earlier on Wednesday night while meeting Ghalawanji, Iran’s vice president in charge of international affairs, Ali Saeedlou, said that “Tehran is ready to give its experience and capabilities to its friend and brother nation of Syria.

The statements come while a Syrian delegation of 15 ministers and high-ranking officials are in Tehran on a three-day visit to seek the expansion of economic cooperation.

Tehran expressed its readiness to reconstruct facilities damaged in Syria during the uprising. The Syrian delegation also secured Iran’s support in developing electricity and water facilities.

Syria and Iran have agreed a deal on importing 50MW (megawatts) of Iranian electricity into Syria via Iraq. The figure will climb to 200MW at the next step.

"We agreed with Iran that in one month agreements will be made with Iraq, so that putting problems to one side, electricity imports from Iran will begin," Syria's electricity minister, Imad Khamis, said on Thursday.

Iran and Syria have also signed cooperation agreements which include the construction of a dam along with a power plant. At the same time, Iran reiterated it is not going to dispatch military units or hardware to Syria. On Wednesday Iran’s defense minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, said that at present “Iran has no military forces in Syria” and does not plan to send any.