Photo: AP
Assad. Not a mediator
Photo: AP

Assad says any country has right to nukes

Syrian president ends his visit to Tehran in joint press conference with counterpart Ahmadinejad. 'Only way to solve the crisis is through dialogue,' he notes. Iranian leader says his country serious about nuclear talks

Syrian President Bashar Assad ended his two-day visit to Tehran on Sunday with a strong show of support for the Iranian nuclear plan, saying his country believes any state has the right to energy and nuclear research for peaceful purposes.


Assad noted that he did not make the visit as the international community's messenger on the nuclear issue.


"Syria's stance is based on the international treaties and agreements. Each country which is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has signed the (Nuclear Non-Proliferation) Treaty has the right to nuclear energy and the right to conduct research in this field for peaceful purposes," the Syrian president said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Addressing the reports that he was asked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to help solve the Iranian nuclear issue, Assad said his visit to Tehran was scheduled before he attended the Mediterranean Forum in Paris.


"I am not making this visit as a mediator or messenger and I did not bring along any message from Western sources," he said.


The Syrian president noted, however, that one of the issues he discussed in Tehran was the Iranian nuclear program.

Assad and Ahmadinejad in Tehran (Photo: AFP)


"When we were at the Paris forum we informed the French directly of our stance. We stressed that in terms of the Iranian nuclear issue, the only way for a solution was through dialogue.


"I came to Iran to receive details on this issue. I discussed the Iranian nuclear issue in the past as well so that if I am asked about it in the future, I will be able to respond," the Syrian president said.


Ahmadinejad said during the press conference that dialogue was the only way to solve the crisis surrounding his country's nuclear program. "There is no other way apart from talks and obeying the rules."


The Iranian president added that his country was "serious" about the nuclear talks, and expressed his hope that the other side would be as serious.


The deadline set by the West in terms of the incentive package offered to Iran in return to suspending its uranium enrichment expired over the weekend. The Islamic republic has yet to respond to the offer.


Earlier Sunday, Assad met with Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who told the Syrian president that he was "carrying on the path of his late father Hafez Assad" and that "the good relations between the two countries are the result of this continued path."


The Iranian television's website reported that Assad told Khamenei he was "happy this meeting is being held while on the one hand, we are witnessing the Islamic resistance's great victories in Lebanon and the strengthening of Hamas in Palestine, and on the other hand, our enemies are weaker than before."


פרסום ראשון: 08.03.08, 13:54
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