Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has praised the Syrian regime's handling of the yearlong rebellion, pledging support for its closest Arab ally, Iranian state media reported Tuesday.
In a typically provocative statement, Ahmadinejad said Iran had no limit to its alliance with President Bashar al-Assad's regime and that Iran would do all in its power to support this country.
I am very happy that Syrian officials are managing the situation well, IRNA state news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during talks with Assad's special envoy, Faisal Meqdad. I hope the situation in Syria improves day after day.
Shi'ite Iran endorsed most of last year's Arab Spring uprisings, but has steadfastly stood by Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect -- an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. (The overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims are Sunni, including Saudi Arabia, Iran's principal enemy in the Middle East).
Ahmadinejad continued by accusing The United States and the West of plotting to overthrow the Assad regime as a deliberate ploy to bolster Israel's status in the region.
Today, it has become clear to all that the arrogant powers try to harm Iran, Syria and the resistance movement, trying to save the Zionist regime under the slogan of human rights and caring for freedom.
By chanting false slogans of defending people's freedom, the Americans want to take control of Syria, Lebanon, Iran and other countries and we should be aware and stand firm against their plots, he said.
The Iranian leader also criticized members of the Arab League for demanding democracy in Syria while not holding free and fair elections in their own countries.
The Arab League owes its reputation to Syria as it has been its member thus far, he added.
The comments come as United Nations-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan announced on Tuesday he had secured Chinese, Russian and Syrian agreements to a six-point peace plan to establish a cease-fire and daily two-hour breaks in fighting in order to evacuate the wounded.
News of the apparent breakthrough follows failed attempts in the U.N. Security Council to formulate a demand that Assad end his deadly year-old crackdown on dissenters that has killed at least 9,000 civilians, according to U.N. estimates.
Fighting continued Tuesday between pro-Assad troops and rebel forces, even spilling across Syria's border into Lebanon. Buildings inside the neighboring country were destroyed, according to Reuters.