An Iranian source told the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that during their meeting in Damascus last Thursday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to boost military and political relations between the two countries.
According to the report, published Saturday, Tehran will help Syria fund future arms deals with North Korea and Russia, set up military plants there and back Syria on the Lebanon issue. In return, Assad promised Ahmadinejad to refrain from entering peace talks with Israel.
The two leaders signed a comprehensive agreement on strategic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus, according to which Iran will transfer a billion dollars to Syria for the purchase of 400 advanced T-72 Russian tanks, 18 MiG-31 warplanes, eight Sukhoi fighter jets and eight Mikoyan helicopters.
In addition, Iran will help Syria set up a mid-range missile manufacturing plant and equip the Syrian army with Iranian-made armored vehicles and tanks.
The deal states that the Syrian navy will receive C-801 and C-802 missiles, which were developed by China and are currently being produced also in Iran, as well as training for its air force and navy officers in Iran. Tehran will also assist Syria in developing a nuclear research program and advance its biological weapons capabilities.
'Summer will bring victories'
During the Second Lebanon War an Iranian-made C-802 missile fired by Hizbullah terrorists struck an Israel Navy missile boat off the Beirut shore; four Israeli crewmembers were killed in the incident.
In return for Iran’s military assistance and its promise to back Syria on the Lebanon issue, Assad pledged not to enter peace talks with Israel. According to the agreement, Ahmadinejad will exert his influence to prevent the Lebanese parliament from convening to elect a new president to replace Emile Lahoud, who will be stepping down in the coming weeks.
Ahmadinejad also committed to continue working toward toppling Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government.
In his meeting with Assad last Thursday, Ahmadinejad said that "Iran and Syria are allies and will remain allies".
According to him, Iran and Syria "are united against the enemies of the two countries and the region".
Asked about the possibility of another war breaking out in the region, the Iranian president replied, "We hope the summer will bring victories to the region's nations and failures to their enemies." He refused to elaborate.
On Friday the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat reported that senior Syrian officials told the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Møller, that their country was "ready to renew negotiations with Israel under the auspices of the international Quartet".