New Iran president backs Syria's Assad, Hezbollah
Rohani reaches out to Hezbollah, Assad, Hamas in bid to reiterate Iran's commitment to aiding allies against 'enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime'. Meanwhile, EU wonders when nuclear negotiations can continue; Iran FM slams Netanyahu
The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday cited Hassan Rohani as saying close Iranian-Syrian ties will be able to confront "enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime," aka Israel. Rohani also said that Syria will "overcome its current crisis."
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The note was in response to Assad's congratulatory message on Rohani's June election. Tehran has sided with Assad's regime in Syria's civil war.
Rohani, not as moderate as expected (Photo: EPA)
The notes reflect Rohani's intentions to emphasize links to Iran's key regional allies even as he urges for greater outreach to the West.
Rohani supporters celebrate victory (Archive photo: AFP)
The comments came as world powers hoped to resume negotiations with Iran over its disputed nuclear program "as soon as possible", as European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday.
Ashton, who oversees talks with Iran on behalf of the six powers, met senior diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the future of the negotiations.
The last round of nuclear talks, held in April in Kazakhstan, failed to yield a solution to the decade-old standoff, and diplomacy has been on hold since then because of a presidential election in Iran last month.
Rohani, Ahmadinejad (Photo: AFP, Iranian Presidency Website)
Ashton said the six powers were waiting for Tehran to nominate a team of negotiators after the election, won by Hassan Rohani.
"We very much hope that will be soon and we look forward to meeting with them as soon as possible," she said in a statement.
Tuesday's remarks by ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the world to step up pressure on Tehran to halt its disputed nuclear program with tougher sanctions and threats of military action.
Reuters contributed to this report
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