Iran on Friday congratulated Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on his landslide election victory, describing it as a "big step" towards restoring peace after a decade of civil war.
The Islamic Republic of Iran congratulates President Assad and the resilient Syrian people on their decisive victory in this election," the foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by i24NEWS.
"The successful organization of the election and the massive turnout by the Syrian people mark a big step in establishing peace," it added.
Syria’s parliament speaker, Hammoud Sabbagh, announced on Thursday night that Assad had garnered 95.1% of the votes, giving the longtime president a fourth seven-year term.
Assad’s win was not in doubt, even though two challengers ran against him, including Mahmoud Ahmed Merei, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, and former deputy cabinet minister Abdallah Saloum Abdallah.
While Iranian leaders deny that the Islamic Republic has a military presence in Syria, Iran is a key supporter of Assad’s regime, having providing the regime with both financial aid and military advisers against a range of opposing forces since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Near the start of the Syrian civil war, it was reported that then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
Meanwhile on Friday, Russia also congratulated Assad, hailing his "decisive victory" as an "important step towards strengthening... internal stability".
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)