No stable Mideast without Iran: Syrian president

Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN – Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that it is not possible to establish peace and security in the Middle East without Iran’s contribution.

 "Iran is a very important country in the region and Damascus never wants to lose this ally," Assad said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse published on Wednesday.

 Syria is determined to have friendly relations with Iran and the West will not succeed in its efforts to foment discord between the two countries, said the president.

 He added, "The U.S. is seeking to isolate Syria because it had opposed a military strike against Iraq, but it would not be able to isolate us under the pretext that we are having good relations with the Islamic Republic."

 Asked about the reason for Syria’s support of Hamas and Hezbollah, the president said, "Hamas is a powerful movement in Palestine. Without Hamas peace and security will not be established in the country. This is also true about Hezbollah in Lebanon."

 "Syria cannot trust Israel as long as it is pursuing its acts of aggression. As long as a part of our land is under Israel’s occupation we will not recognize this regime," Assad said, referring to the Syrian Golan Heights seized by the Zionist regime in 1967. 

He also condemned the U.S. intervention in Lebanon’s internal conflicts over electing a president, saying that Damascus is making every effort to help Lebanese political parties agree on a consensus president and also form a national unity government.

Syria: No stability without Iran

Wed, 19 Dec 2007 16:57:25

 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says that Damascus will not allow the US to marginalize his country over its alliance with Tehran. 

It is not possible to stabilize the Middle East without Iran's cooperation, al-Assad said in an interview with the Austrian paper Die Presse.

 The Syrian president added that Western countries devise strategies to strain the good relations between the two states.

 The US also makes efforts to isolate Syria over the country's objection to the Iraq war, Bashar al-Assad added.

 Regarding Syria's support for Hamas and Hezbollah, the president said that peace and stability cannot be established in Palestine without Hamas as it is a powerful movement, just as Hezbollah is in Lebanon.

 The Syrian President says reaching a peace agreement in the Middle East in 2008 is unlikely due to the upcoming US presidential election.

 It is perhaps too late to talk about peace in the last year of this US administration. It will be preoccupied with elections,' President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Die Presse on Wednesday.

 Damascus attended a US-sponsored Middle East summit held in Annapolis last month.

 The summit was organized to re-launched formal talks between Zionist officials and the Palestinian Authority to reach a peace accord by the end of 2008. 

Arab nations however remain skeptical about the outcomes of the summit saying that it has failed to address the core issues of the Middle East conflict.


Syria spurned atom smuggler approach in 2001: Assad

 VIENNA (Reuters) - Syria rebuffed a possible approach in 2001 from Pakistani-led traffickers in nuclear arms technology, President Bashar al-Assad said.

 In an interview with Austrian daily Die Presse, Assad said an unnamed person delivered to Syria a letter purportedly from A.Q. Khan, the now-disgraced father of Pakistan's atom bomb who supplied Iran, Libya and North Korea with nuclear parts and know-how.

 "At the beginning of 2001 someone brought us a letter from a certain Khan. We did not know if the letter was genuine or a forgery by Israel to lure us into a trap," Assad was quoted by Die Presse on Wednesday as saying.

 "In any case, we rejected (the approach). We were not interested in having nuclear weapons or a nuclear reactor. We never met Khan."

 VIENNA (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said achieving Middle East peace in 2008 looked unrealistic because the United States would be preoccupied with the presidential election.

Damascus attended a Middle East conference last month and the Annapolis meeting re-launched formal peace talks aimed at reaching agreement on Palestinian statehood by the end of 2008.

 "It is perhaps too late to talk about peace in the last year of this U.S. administration. It will be preoccupied with elections," Assad said in an interview with Austrian daily Die Presse published on Wednesday.

 "Annapolis was a one-day event. It will all depend on follow-up efforts. We have to be optimistic, although cautious." The United States presidential election is on November 4.

 Syria said the Annapolis meeting, attended by other Arab countries, revived its bid to recover the occupied Golan Heights from Israel although there were no direct talks between the two adversaries.

 Assad said Syria and Israel went 80 percent of the way towards peace in talks on a handback of the Golan in 2000, before the talks collapsed.

 "Now a referee is needed. The United States above all, naturally with support from the EU and U.N.. But without the U.S., nothing will work," he was quoted as saying.

 He said U.S. policy in the region, which Arabs have long regarded as misguided due to a perceived pro-Israel tilt, was changing in form although not yet in substance.

 Full Text of the Interview

Web Site

hafez al assad speech