Iran’s Zarif meets with President Assad on Syria visit

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad shortly after arriving in the capital Damascus at his invitation.

During their meeting on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Zarif and President Assad discussed the Astana peace process for Syria and the progress in the bilateral deals signed during Assad’s trip to Iran in February.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad chat while walking in the presidential building in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on April 16, 2019. (Photo by Fars news agency)

Earlier on Tuesday, Zarif arrived at the Damascus International Airport at the head of a delegation and was welcomed by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-L ) is being welcomed by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad at the Damascus International Airport, in Damascus, Syria, on April 16, 2019. (Photo by Fars news agency)

Speaking to reporters upon arrival, Zarif said his trip was aimed at coordinating efforts among regional countries to counter “hostile” US policies, including the recognition of the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, the recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” as well as its “illegal and unprecedented” decision to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) a “terrorist” group.

Such measures, Zarif added, stem from Washington’s repeated defeats both on the battlefield and the political front in the region.

Zarif then visited the holy shrine of Hazrat Zeinab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), south of Damascus.

During his one-day stay in Syria, the top Iranian diplomat is scheduled to hold talks with other senior officials, including Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

During his trip to Iran, Assad held talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

Zarif will next travel to Turkey for a review of bilateral and regional relations.

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