Syria's Assad hails economic ties with Iran
Iran's First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri on Tuesday expressed Iran’s willingness to help reconstruct Syria in the post-war era.
“Presence of a high-ranking Iranian delegation in Damascus in this period conveys the message that the war in Syria is close to its end and that the time has come to reconstruct the country,” Jahangiri said as he met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
He said Iran, which stood by Syria's side in the war on terror, will be with Syria in the reconstruction process.
Jahangiri hailed fruitful negotiations he had with Syrian officials and the bilateral agreements Iran and Syria signed on Monday, saying both sides should help accelerate the implementation of those deals.
He noted that the signing of the contract to expand strategic economic cooperation between the two countries will help determine their main approaches for conducting joint activities and will be of great assistance to the better implementation of mutual agreements
Jahangiri lauded the holding of a conference between Iranian and Syrian traders and businessmen, organized by the two countries’ chambers of commerce, adding such efforts will prepare the ground for greater private sector participation in bilateral trade.
He called for greater cooperation between Iran, Iraq and Syria in cultural fields as well as railroad, energy and health sectors.
Jahangiri stressed that the war in Syria was not against the country’s government and people, but against the entire region’s security and the resistance front, which was, of course, doomed to failure thanks to the prudence and wisdom of the Syrian government and people and supports provided by the friends of the Arab nation.
‘Strong economic base’
Assad acclaimed the economic cooperation deals between his country and Iran as a strong economic base to face "the economic war launched by the West".
Assad said the signed agreements hold a strategic dimension and constitute a solid economic base for Syria and Iran to face the economic war launched by the Western countries.
He also underlined the need to intensify the mutual efforts at this phase to strip the Western countries from any reason to weaken Iran and Syria.
The Syrian president noted that the economic war on both countries comes following the failure of the Western powers to impose their will on Syria through supporting terrorism.
A day earlier, Syria and Iran signed 11 economic deals which were seen by Syria's Prime Minister Emad Khamis as a "truly historic station" in the cooperation between both countries.
At a press conference held in Damascus on Monday evening, Khamis said the agreements cover the industrial, agricultural, service, infrastructure and energy sectors among others.
Khamis said his government also reached an agreement with Iran on the banking sector as well as establishing an electricity generating station in the coastal city of Latakia.
Both sides also signed agreements to expand the ports in Latakia and Tartus.
The prime minister added that they have dozens of projects that will be continued in the oil sector mainly in the eastern region.
Jahangiri highlighted the banking cooperation as the base for economic cooperation, saying the central banks of Iran and Syria have agreed to establish banking cooperation deals between the two countries.
The Iranian official also mentioned the electricity sector, saying they will build an electricity generating station in Latakia city. The agreements also reached for the rehabilitation of other electricity stations in the country.
Both sides also highlighted the need to link Syria with Iran through Iraq by railways so that Iran has a direct link to the Mediterranean.
A permanent fair for Iranian goods will also be opened in Damascus.
The Syrian-Iranian cooperation supports peace in the world, Jahangiri said, hoping the economic ties between both countries could reach the same level of the political relations.
He added that if it wasn't for the successful counter-terror measures in Syria and Iraq, "We would have been facing terrorism in Europe."
Iran has been a key backer to the Syrian government in the face of the more than seven-year war and is now aiming to be a part of Syria's reconstruction process with the dwindling battles across the country.
SANA and Xinhua contributed to this story.