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Iran, Syria discuss Israeli issues

Right-wing Israelis protest against the West Bank settlement freeze outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, December 9, 2009. The settlers vowed to continue building homes in the West Bank settlements. UPI/Debbie Hill
Right-wing Israelis protest against the West Bank settlement freeze outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, December 9, 2009. The settlers vowed to continue building homes in the West Bank settlements. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

DAMASCUS, Syria, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Iranian and Syrian defense ministers pledged during a meeting in Damascus to work in coordination to counter the regional threat they see posed by Israel.

Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mohammad Habib welcomed his Iranian counterpart Ahmad Vahidi to Damascus to discuss bilateral ties and broader regional issues.

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Vahidi called for enhanced ties in the defense arena, noting a united front was needed to help counter the threat from Israel, the Tehran Times reports.

"We believe that Tehran-Damascus ties are a positive and constructive model for expanding cooperation between all regional countries," the Iranian defense minister said.

Vahidi stressed that any threat to Syria was considered a threat to Iranian national interests.

The bilateral meeting comes as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that negotiations through French mediators encouraged him to talk directly with the Syrians over lingering issues regarding the occupied Golan Heights.

Damascus last week also played host to the head of Iran's national security council in an effort to bolster defense relations.

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