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Syria’s Assad denounces US for blacklisting Iran’s IRGC

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C-L) looks on as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) speaks during a bilateral meeting in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on April 16, 2019. (Photo by Fars news agency)

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has censured the US for blacklisting Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which has been greatly contributing to his country’s fight against terrorists.

In a meeting with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Damascus on Tuesday, the Syrian leader said the recent designation of the IRGC as “foreign terrorist organization” was yet another “wrong” move by Washington, which could further destabilize the region.

During the meeting, the two sides emphasized that the hostile policies of the US and certain Arab countries cannot prevent Iran and Syria from defending the rights of their nations, the statement added.

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)

Assad and Zarif further urged the US and its Western allies to stop waging wars and using economic terrorism against other states which refuse to do their bidding and return, instead, to diplomatic means in dealing with them.

For his part, Zarif censured Washington for recognizing the occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights as Israeli territory, saying the measure showed the defeat of the American agenda for the region.

Zarif said he and the Syrian president explored ways to promote bilateral ties.

The two sides also discussed the Astana peace process for Syria and the progress in the bilateral deals signed during Assad’s trip to Iran in February, he added.

Prior to his meeting with Assad, Zarif sat down for talks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Muallem.

The top Iranian diplomat arrived at the Damascus International Airport earlier on Tuesday 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.

The Iranian minister will next travel to Turkey for a review of bilateral relations and regional issues.

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