West Not Able to Set Syria and Iran at Loggerheads
Azerbaijan, Baku, 19 July / Trend corr. U.Sadikhova, D.Khatinoglu/ Syria's desire to improve its relations with West will not lead to a rapid deterioration of Syria-Iran relationships. On 14 July, at the Mediterranean summit in Paris, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad accepted EU's proposal to cooperate in political and economic fields.
"Restoration of relations between Syria and West will not result in a crisis in Syria's relations with Iran," an Al Jazeera expert Akram Khuzam said to Trend via e-mail from Damascus.
"In response to Syrian President's statement, Iranian Supreme Religious Council's representative Hossein Shariatmadari said Tehran would cut off all relations with Damascus," Iran's Keykhan newspaper quoted Timeturk.
According to Iranian independent political scientist Jafar Mohammadi, in spite of Shariatmadari's statement, Iran has not yet divulged its position on the issue. Iran understands that Syria took the step under West's pressure.
"Iran does not take seriously the negotiations on restoration of relations between Syria and West," Mohammadi said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Tehran on 19 July. He said restoration of relations between Damascus and Europe is unlikely to be successful.
Arab experts believe no third side can undermine relations between Iran and Syria. "Even if Iran states it cuts off the relations, Damascus's position on the issue remains unchanged," expert Mahalli said to Trend in a telephone conversation from Istanbul on 19 July.
Mahalli said it is economic issues to link Iran and Syria rather than political. "Two countries' mutual cooperation is interested both to Syria and Iran from strategic and economic standpoint," he said.
Khuzam agrees that relations between Syria and Iran will keep on going the same course, since it is advantageous to both countries' economy and trade. Relations between Syria and Europe are not at a level high enough to affect cooperation between Damascus and other countries. Therefore, Europe or United States will play no role in the relations between Damascus and Teheran.
According to Iran's official news agency IRNA, trade turnover between Syria and Iran totalled $200mln in 2007 ($180mln export from Iran). Iran's investments in Syrian economy exceeded $1bln. Iranians constructs their machine assembling plants in Syria (Pride and Samand), as well as cement producing enterprises and granaries.
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