Syrian prime minister arrives in Tehran for talks with old ally

Syrian Prime Minister Naji Otari arrived here Wednesday for talks with his government's old ally Iran, two nations that appear to be beleaguered internationally.

Iran is facing U.N. Security Council pressure over its nuclear program and Syria has been isolated over its role in Lebanon and its support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups.

State television reported Otari was received by Iranian Vice President Parviz Davoodi, who last week visited Syria to inaugurate a joint car factory.

Iran and Syria signed a defense agreement Sunday when Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was in Damascus. Details of the agreement were not released.

Syria and Iran both support Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrilla group, which Washington labels a terrorist organization. Washington accuses both countries of fueling violence in Iraq a charge they both deny.

On Saturday, envoys from Syria and Iran joined Western countries, including the United States, at a Baghdad conference aimed at stabilizing Iraq. Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa has said his government's dialogue with Washington got off to a positive start and he hoped it would continue.

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