"Iran's defensive (military) strength will stand by Syria due to Damascus' strategic importance to us," Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar told reporters on Tuesday in Tehran following a meeting his Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani.
Referring to the indirect talks between Israel and Syria, which are being conducted with Turkey's mediation, Najjar said, "Israel and (US President George W.) Bush estimated that in Iran and Syria would sever ties in 2008, but this visit shows that Israel's goals are unrealistic.
"Syria, of course, has the right to regain sovereignty over the Golan," said the Iranian defense minister, "but we realize that these talks were merely formal and philosophical. Israel is weak and is therefore trying to show, through such reports (of negotiations with Syria) that it has successes in the international and diplomatic arena, but everyone knows this is just a failed tactic."
Turkami told the joint press conference that the cooperation between Syria and Iran was aimed at "establishing peace in the Middle East", adding that the ties between Syrian and Iran "will always be strategic and based on solid foundations. No one will be able to get in the way of this bond".
As for the recent negotiations with Israel, the Syrian defense minister said, "We must always remember that past peace talks with Israel were unsuccessful, but we agreed to examine Turkey's mediation efforts in this regard, regardless of the results and without bias."
In June 2006 Syria and Iran signed a mutual defense pact against what they referred to as "common threats" presented by Israel and the United States.
AFP contributed to the report