Iran’s Khamenei meets Syria’s al-Assad in Tehran

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Tehran on Thursday, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.

According to the agency, Khamenei thanked al-Assad for coming to Tehran to offer condolences for the death of Iran’s late President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this month along with seven others, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

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During the meeting, Khamenei called for increased cooperation between Iran and Syria to “overcome the political and economic pressures of the US and Europe” on Tehran and Damascus.

Iran has been a major ally of al-Assad, providing economic, political, and military support during Syria’s 13-year civil war. While militias affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have a significant presence in Syria, Tehran maintains that it has only sent military advisors to the conflict.

Also present at the meeting was Mohammad Mokhber, who was Raisi’s First Vice President. Following Raisi’s death, Khamenei appointed Mokhber as caretaker president, in accordance with the constitution.

“Now Mr. Mokhber, having the powers of the president, continues the same approach” as Raisi in strengthening Iran-Syria ties, Khamenei said, according to IRNA.

Iran will hold a presidential election on June 28 to replace Raisi. The elections were originally scheduled for 2025 but were brought forward following Raisi’s sudden death on May 19.

Mokhber has been mentioned in Iranian media as a possible candidate.

Read more: Iran’s supreme leader praises US university students for Gaza support

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