Iran’s new president affirms support for Syria, Hezbollah


rouhani, ayatollah khomeiniIran’s president-elect Hassan Rouhani sent messages to the embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, reaffirming Iran’s support for his two allies, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

IRNA cited Rouhani as saying close Iranian-Syrian ties will be able to confront “enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime.”

The semi-official Fars News agency said Rouhani “lauded the Syrian nation for its resistance against western plots” and said Syria will “overcome its current crisis.”

Rouhani’s message was in response to Assad’s congratulatory message for winning the June election.

Iran has sided with Assad’s regime in Syria’s civil war , provided Damascus with arms and money and pushed Hezbollah to send fighters to Syria to help quash the two-year uprising.

Rouhani also wrote to the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah also in response to his congratulatory message , saying Iran backs the “steadfast nation” of Lebanon and the Palestinians, a reference to the militant Hamas group.

According to analysts familiar with the situation in Iran , Rouhani was trying in his messages to appease his allies but his primary focus will restoring some economic stability in Iran, which has been battered by Western sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program. Rouhani blasted outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday and accused him mismanaging the economy.

Several newspapers quoted Rouhani as saying his team of experts concluded that only an average of 14,000 jobs were created annually from 2006-2012. Ahmadinejad, who took office in 2005, claims his government created hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Inflation, Rouhani said, actually stands at 42 percent and not the previously reported 32 percent. On Sunday, the central bank put the rate at nearly 36 percent.

The Iranian rial has strengthened by more than 15 percent against the dollar since Rouhani’s victory according to media reports because of his campaign promises to strengthen the economy