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Syrian President Congratulates Ahmadinejad


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has congratulated Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his re-election.

Speaking in Tehran Wednesday, the Syrian president called Mr. Ahmadinejad's election a great event and a lesson for foreigners.

President Assad is in Iran on an official visit to discuss regional issues and cooperation between Tehran and Damascus.

While in Tehran, the Syrian president is also likely to lobby for Clotilde Reiss, a French lecturer among the defendants involved in one of Iran's mass trials for demonstrators detained after the election.

Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad is set to unveil his formal list of Cabinet nominees to the Iranian parliament.

According to Iran's constitution, the president has two weeks after being sworn in to set up a government and submit his Cabinet nominees to parliament for approval.

While Mr. Ahmadinejad's deadline to submit his nominees is Wednesday, speculation about his choices still remains.

The president is expected to name current Commerce Minister Massoud Mirkazemi as the country's new oil minister and allow Manouchehr Mottaki to remain in his post as Iran's foreign minister.

Earlier this week, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he is also planning to appoint at least three women to his Cabinet, a first in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as president on August 5. His re-election in June was fiercely disputed, sparking massive opposition protests that led to security officials detaining thousands.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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