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Ahmadinejad to Assad: Speak to the Opposition

After helping Assad crack down on anti-regime protests, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells him to talk to the opposition.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/25/2011, 8:44 AM

In what might be seen as a surprise move, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Wednesday for dialogue between Syrian President Bashar Assad and the opposition, NOW Lebanon is reporting.

According to the report, Ahmadinejad gave an interview to Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television in which he said, “The people and government of Syria must come together to reach an understanding. When there is a problem between the people and their leaders they must sit down together to reach a solution, away from violence.”

Never missing a chance to speak out against Israel, the Iranian President added: “One must not kill the other, because killing, whichever side is responsible, serves Zionist interests.”

“We need freedom, justice and free elections,” Ahmadinejad said, adding that “the people who seek freedom and justice... must strengthen the resistance against the Zionist entity.”

Iran, one of Syria’s greatest allies, has aided Assad in his crackdown on anti-regime protesters, sending security forces and advisers to teach Syrian troops methods that Iranian riot police and Revolutionary Guards used to suppress riots in the country.

Ahmadinejad’s statements came after on Wednesday the European Union imposed sanctions against the elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard for providing equipment and other support to help Assad crush the uprising against him.