Iran to fund Syrian arms deals - report
Report says Ahmadinejad, Assad signed agreement according to which Syria will not enter peace talks with Israel in return for military assistance from Islamic Republic, including funding of future arms deals with Russia, North Korea
|Published:||07.21.07, 11:06 / Israel News|
An Iranian source told the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that during their meeting in Damascus last Thursday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to boost military and political relations between the two countries.
According to the report, published Saturday, Tehran will help Syria fund future arms deals with North Korea and Russia, set up military plants there and back Syria on the Lebanon issue. In return, Assad promised Ahmadinejad to refrain from entering peace talks with Israel.
The two leaders signed a comprehensive agreement on strategic cooperation between Tehran and Damascus, according to which Iran will transfer a billion dollars to Syria for the purchase of 400 advanced T-72 Russian tanks, 18 MiG-31 warplanes, eight Sukhoi fighter jets and eight Mikoyan helicopters.
In addition, Iran will help Syria set up a mid-range missile manufacturing plant and equip the Syrian army with Iranian-made armored vehicles and tanks.
The deal states that the Syrian navy will receive C-801 and C-802 missiles, which were developed by China and are currently being produced also in Iran, as well as training for its air force and navy officers in Iran. Tehran will also assist Syria in developing a nuclear research program and advance its biological weapons capabilities.
'Summer will bring victories'
During the Second Lebanon War an Iranian-made C-802 missile fired by Hizbullah terrorists struck an Israel Navy missile boat off the Beirut shore; four Israeli crewmembers were killed in the incident.
In return for Iran’s military assistance and its promise to back Syria on the Lebanon issue, Assad pledged not to enter peace talks with Israel. According to the agreement, Ahmadinejad will exert his influence to prevent the Lebanese parliament from convening to elect a new president to replace Emile Lahoud, who will be stepping down in the coming weeks.
Ahmadinejad also committed to continue working toward toppling Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government.
In his meeting with Assad last Thursday, Ahmadinejad said that "Iran and Syria are allies and will remain allies".
According to him, Iran and Syria "are united against the enemies of the two countries and the region".
Asked about the possibility of another war breaking out in the region, the Iranian president replied, "We hope the summer will bring victories to the region's nations and failures to their enemies." He refused to elaborate.
On Friday the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat reported that senior Syrian officials told the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Møller, that their country was "ready to renew negotiations with Israel under the auspices of the international Quartet".
DEBKAfile Exclusive: Ahmadinejad follows up Damascus talks with a council of war in Tehran Friday with Hizballah, Hamas and Jihadi Islami leaders
July 21, 2007, 4:28 PM (GMT+02:00)
Our Iranian and intelligence sources reveal that the Iranian president flew out of Damascus Thursday with this group saying: “I prefer cooler places but this region faces a torrid summer of victories.”
Aboard his plane were four HIzballlah leaders, Secy-Gen. Hassan Nasrallah, defense chief Imad Mughniyeh, chief of staff Ibrahim Aqil and chief of special operations Unit 1800 Hajj Khalil Harb; and Jihad Islami’s Abdallah Ramadan Shalah and operations chief Zaid Nahle.
Head of Hamas’ Damascus HQ Khaled Meshaal did not join the party flying to Tehran to avoid giving his Saudi and Egyptian friends the impression he was in Iran’s pocket. Either he flew there earlier, or else assigned a Hamas representative based in the Gulf to represent his moement at the council of war in Tehran.
As for Syria’s role, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that 20 high-ranking Iranian officers were on the Iran president’s flight to Damascus, headed by defense minister Mustafa Najar. They did not join Ahmadinejad’s talks with Syrian president Bashar Assad. Instead, they were driven to Syrian General Staff headquarters, where they were awaited by Syrian defense minister Gen. Hassan Turkmani, chief of staff Gen. Ali Habib and corps commanders.
Our intelligence sources believe this conference was in fact round one of the council of war which continued in Tehran Friday with Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist chiefs.
The most urgent decision facing the Iran-Syrian alliance concerns Lebanon and how far they can go to get rid of the pro-Western Siniora government in Beirut. Both Iran and Syria understand the United States and France will not stand for its ouster by military or terrorist means. But time is running out. The international tribunal is about to be installed to start hearing the Hariri assassination case and must be stopped before Assad and aides are prosecuted. Tehran and Damascus must decide quickly whether to focus on subversive action inside Lebanon or resort to diversionary tactics such as fomenting trouble against Israel on the Golan, from the Lebanese border or from Gaza.
Before Ahmadinejad and party departed Damascus Thursday night, they visited two important Shiite shrines and prayed for victory in the near future. Witnesses heard the Iranian president sobbing loudly.
DEBKAfile sources refute the Shawq al-Awsat claim Saturday, July 21,that the Iranian president rewarded Assad for abandoning its quest for a peace track with Israel by one billion dollars for arms purchases from Russia and North Korea - plus Iranian backing on Lebanon issues. The arms Iranian-funded arms deals have been in progress since the beginning of this year, long before Ahmadinejad’s Damascus visit.