Iran and Syria call for end of Western economic domination, withdrawal of all foreign troops from the region

Both the countries signed numerous agreements to boost their economic cooperation and called it a joint effort to face the impact of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and its allies on their economies

May 04, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed a host of agreements in Damascus. Photo: SANA

The Syrian and Iranian presidents met in Damascus and announced their resolve to work for greater regional stability. They stressed that the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the region was necessary for this purpose. They emphasized that their mutual cooperation in the economic field is intended to be a strategic move to counter the impact of illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and some of its allies.

The countries signed a long-term comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement during the state visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Damascus on Wednesday, May 3. They also signed long-term cooperation agreements in various economic areas such as agriculture, oil, transport, and others. 

Raisi is the first Iranian president to visit the country in the last 13 years. He was accompanied by his foreign, economic, and transport ministers, and the chief of Iran’s central bank.  

After the meeting, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed that the various economic projects agreed upon between Iran and Syria would help “mitigate the impacts of sanctions” and aid in liberating “international economics from Western hegemony.” He also emphasized that both countries agreed that it has been an old colonial tactic to “undermine the stability of countries and divide them.” However, countries in the region need to take advantage of the improving relations to find common grounds for peace and prosperity, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.  

Regional stability 

Assad was referring to the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran after years of tension and hostility. Following the rapprochement, the peace talks in Yemen have made headway. Saudi Arabia has also discarded its decade long anti-Syria policy and has taken diplomatic steps to restore Syria’s membership to the Arab League from which it was suspended in 2011.   

He also thanked Raisi for playing a significant role in the ongoing quadripartite meeting in Moscow. The representatives of Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey participated in the last meeting held on April 25. The forum is primarily discussing ways to normalize relations between Syria and Turkey. Syria has emphasized that its focus is on the withdrawal of all occupying forces from its territory and halting of all international support to terrorism in the country. 

It was with the help of Iran and Russia that the Syrian government was able to restore its control over most of the country’s territory after almost 12 years of war. However, Turkish and US forces still occupy significant parts of territory in Syria’s north-west and east, respectively. Both of them also support different anti-Assad forces in the country.

President Raisi praised the people of Syria for their steadfastness and for withstanding terrorism and international attempts to divide and destroy the country for over a decade. He said, “we [Iran] are in the process of developing our relations with countries of the region and we will seek to expand them without the presence of foreigners.” 

Raisi noted that the presence of foreigners in the region brings conflicts and instability and asked the US forces to leave the region immediately. He emphasized that Syrian sovereignty over all its territory must be respected.