Baku, Azerbaijan, June 5
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Head of Iranian parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on June 5 and discussed issues of mutual interest with him.
Boroujerdi, who is in Syria heading a parliamentary delegation praised Assad for his decision to participate in the recent presidential elections, Iran's IRNA news agency reported on June 5.
He went on to say that all Iranians including officials are happy due to "Syria's successful elections."
"We were always with you and will be with you in the future," the Iranian lawmaker noted.
He underlined the necessity of starting the process for rebuilding Syria, adding that Iran will support Syrian administration in the process.
Assad won the presidential elections held on June 3 with 88.7 percent of votes, according to the Syria's parliament Speaker, Jihad Lahan. The Supreme Constitutional Court put turnout at 73.42 percent.
The parliamentary delegation of Assad's chief international supporters including legislators from Iran, Russia and Venezuela lead by Boroujerdi observed the presidential elections at the invitation of Syrian parliament speaker.
In a final statement read on June 4 by Boroujerdi, the delegation blamed the U.S. and its allies for "crimes committed against the Syrian people." The delegation noted that the Syria's first multi-candidate presidential election in over four decades was transparent and free, and would pave the way for "stability and national agreement."
Meanwhile the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized the Syrian election, calling it "a great big zero." He said it can't be considered fair "because you can't have an election where millions of your people don't even have an ability to vote."
The European Union joined the US in condemning the election, saying in a statement that "it cannot be considered as a genuinely democratic vote."
The Syrian conflict, which broke out in March 2011, killed over 150,000 people, more than 4.2 million people have become refugees in the Syrian territory, and 2.3 million people have fled to neighboring countries. The total population of Syria before the conflict amounted to 20 million.