- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 29, 2019

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Syria’s president said Tuesday that new trade agreements with Iran will help the two countries face the “economic war” waged against them by the West.

Bashar Assad spoke during a meeting with visiting Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.

The two countries have signed 11 agreements and memoranda of understanding to promote cooperation in Syria’s reconstruction after eight years of civil war, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. The deals include agreements on infrastructure development, such as railways, combatting money laundering, cooperation in cinema as well as a “long-term strategic economic cooperation treaty.”

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Jahangiri said Iran has helped Syria in fighting “terrorism” and will be there during the reconstruction period. Iran has sent advisers and funds to support the Syrian government during the eight-year conflict. The government and its allies refer to the armed opposition as “terrorists.”

SANA quoted Jahangiri as saying his visit, with a large economic delegation, was a “message to the Syrian people and to the international community.”

Syria’s government is under Western sanctions linked to its actions over the course of the civil war. Iran, a close ally of Assad, is under renewed U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.

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