World, Middle East

Iran’s president to make 1st visit to Syria since 2011

Visit comes amid efforts to normalize Syria’s relations with Arab neighbors

Syed Zafar Mahdi  | 30.04.2023 - Update : 30.04.2023
Iran’s president to make 1st visit to Syria since 2011


Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi will visit Syria on Wednesday, in what will be the first visit by an Iranian leader to the Arab country in more than a decade.

Iranian Ambassador in Damascus Hossein Akbari said in statements cited by state news agency IRNA that Raisi will be in the war-torn country for a “very important” two-day visit.

He said the visit will be a “turning point” in the region with “positive effects” owing to developments taking place, referring to efforts to normalize relations between Syria and its Arab neighbors.

Tensions have recently begun to ease between the Syrian regime and a number of Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain amid efforts to normalize their ties.

Iran, which has been a staunch supporter of the Bashar al-Assad regime, also recently agreed to restore diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia in a deal brokered by Beijing after two years of negotiations.

Raisi’s high-stakes visit to Damascus will be the first by an Iranian president since 2011. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the last Iranian president to visit the Arab country in September 2010.

“This visit will not only be useful for Tehran and Damascus, but it is also a very good event that other countries in the region can also take advantage of,” Akbari said.

He added that the visit will have “regional and extra-regional effects” and also help to further strengthen relations between Tehran and Damascus in different areas.

Akbari said that Raisi’s trip can “open a space and chapter of interaction between the countries that oppose the domination system”, referring to US sanctions.

In a tweet on Saturday, Mohammad Jamshidi, Raisi’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, confirmed that the Iranian president will visit Syria, without specifying a date.

“West Asia has undergone a tense period of geopolitical change with 2 results: victory of Iran and failure of the US,” he said. “This resistance will be celebrated in the visit of President Raisi to Syria.”

Syrian daily al-Watan on Saturday reported that Raisi would embark on a two-day visit to Syria during which a series of agreements would be signed between the two sides.

Earlier this month, Raisi and Assad in a phone call underlined their commitment to continue coordination and consultation for the benefit of the two countries and the region, Raisi’s office said.

The call came days after two Iranian Revolutionary Guards members were killed in an Israeli airstrike near Damascus, after which Iran vowed a “firm response”.

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