Syrian president to visit Tehran

Iran Materials 2 August 2008 16:38 (UTC +04:00)

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is to begin a two-day visit to Iran on Saturday for talks over regional issues and Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, reported dpa.

Al-Assad's visit comes weeks after he said he was asked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to use his close ties with Iran to help resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme.

Al-Assad is expected to also discuss with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Syria's ongoing indirect peace talks with Israel under Turkish auspices.

Israel and the US have urged Syria to end its alliance with Tehran and its support for radical Palestinian factions and Lebanon's Hezbollah opposition group.

But al-Assad's visit to Iran is a clear message that Damascus is committed to its alliance with Tehran, which was further cemented by a military cooperation agreement signed in 2006.