Iran has reiterated its political and economic support to its strategic ally Syria, following a high ranking Syrian delegation headed by Prime Minister Wail al-Halqi, which visited Tehran this week to discuss ways of bolstering bilateral relations between the two countries. Iranian President Hassan Rohani says that Iran is ready to assist Syria in the “unfair war” waged against it, pledging to help it overcome the economic blockade. At a meeting presided by Iran’s First Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri and Mr Halqi, the two sides, according to the Syrian News Agency, reviewed bilateral cooperation in various fields, notably the activation of the Iranian credit line to Syria, supply of various electrical equipment from Iran to repair damaged power facilities, return of Iranian companies to Syria for reconstruction work, implementation of plans to import Iranian petroleum products by Syria, and supply of basic foodstuffs from Iran. Mr Halqi says Syria looks forward to boosting cooperation with Iran in various fields and the participation of Iranian companies with their Syrian counterparts in reconstruction and development of his country. The two sides agreed to cooperate in repairing the damage to the Syrian energy sector sustained during the turmoil, he says.

While Iran is technically in a position to assist in Syria’s eventual reconstruction, it does not have the logistics and the necessary financial resources at the moment to provide the required support. Iran itself is suffering from a cash crunch and shortage of equipment supplies due to years of western sanctions and needs to first repair its economic infrastructure and revamp its oil sector. Despite official announcements of government largess for many Iranians ‘charity begins at home’. (CONTINUED - 388 WORDS)