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Iran Vows to Back Syria With All Its 'Strength'


Syrian PM Mohammed Naji Otri (R) and Iran's First VP Mohammad Reza Rahimi (L) speak during a joint press conference after signing agreements in Damascus on 30 Apr 2010

Syrian PM Mohammed Naji Otri (R) and Iran's First VP Mohammad Reza Rahimi (L) speak during a joint press conference after signing agreements in Damascus on 30 Apr 2010

Iran has promised to back Syria against any threats, after the U.S. charged Syria's behavior could destabilize the Middle East.

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi met with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji al-Otari in Damascus Friday, and said Tehran would stand behind Syria "with all its strength."

Rahimi also delivered a warning to Israel, saying that Israeli forces would have their legs cut off if they try to invade.

His comments follow comments by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She said Thursday that alleged weapons transfers from Syria to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia pose a serious threat to Israel and could lead to war.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday Hezbollah may have up to 45,000 rockets, with some capable of hitting targets across Israel.

The Israeli defense minister also said Israel will blame the Lebanese government as well as Hezbollah if the rockets are used to spark a war.

Clinton and Barak spoke in Washington to the American Jewish Committee, a U.S.-based pro-Israel group.

The Obama administration has said it wants to improve relations with Syria despite allegations that Damascus is supplying militants with Scud missiles. Secretary Clinton says the goal is to better understand and communicate with Syria.

Officials have said the U.S. intends to send an ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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