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Iran Reacts To New US Sanctions On Syria By Promising More Aid

Iranian First Vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri (R) and Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis attend a meeting in Tehran, January 13, 2020.

Iran's First Vice-President Es'haq Jahangiri on Thursday told Syria's new prime minister the Islamic Republic will spare no effort "to reduce pressure on the Syrian people".

In a phone call with Hussein Arnous who was appointed by Bashar al-Assad yesterday, Jahangiri referred to the meeting with his predecessor, Imad Khamis, in 2015 and his visit to Damascus in 2019 and called for implementation of the economic agreements between Iran and Syria "as soon as possible".

Jahangiri also maintained that the killing of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani has not altered Iran's policy of supporting Syria as a part of what Iran calls the Resistance Front against Israel.

He urged the international community and particularly the United Nations to take practical steps to support the Syrian people "particularly by providing medicine and essential goods amid the pandemic".

The gesture of support comes as the United states sanctioned 39 Syrian individuals and entities including Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma on Wednesday in a bid to increase the pressure on the Assad regime.

"We anticipate many more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

In a tweet on Wednesday Pompeo said these sanctions were the beginning of a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure "to hold the Assad regime and its foreign enablers accountable for their brutal acts against the Syrian people."

In an interview with Etemad Online May 19, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a conservative lawmaker and former chairman of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, in a rare statement said Iran has spent 20-30 billion dollars in Syria that must be reimbursed by the Syrian government.

Protesters in the past few years have always expressed their resentment with the Iranian people's money being spent in other countries including Syria.

On Wednesday Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi also reacted to the U.S. sanctions law known as the Caesar Act which authorizes severe economic sanctions on Syria as well as supporters of the Syrian regime including Iran, Russia and the Hezbollah of Lebanon.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not give any credence to such cruel and unilateral sanctions," he said in a statement and called them "economic terrorism" and another attempt by the United States to destabilize Syria. Mousavi underlined that Iran will strengthen its economic relations with Syria despite the new sanctions.