Press TV
September 7, 2008

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the country welcomes any measure that will lead to the liberation of occupied lands belonging to Muslims.

“We believe that occupied territories, including those belonging to Syria, should be released without pre-conditions,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told IRNA.

He affirmed that Tehran’s approach to the matter is principle-oriented. “We welcome all political achievements that can strengthen Syria’s position and have been the result of diplomacy,” Qashqavi said.

Israel waged war with its Arab neighbors in 1967 and occupied the strategic plateau of Golan Heights and annexed it in 1981 in a move that has not been recognized by the international community.

Addressing a four-way summit of French, Qatari and Turkish presidents in Damascus on Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said a list of proposals had been sent to Israel via Turkish mediators aimed at laying the groundwork for direct peace talks.

Israel and Syria resumed indirect peace talks in May but have not yet agreed to hold direct negotiations.

The negotiations resumed amid speculation that Tel Aviv is preparing to return Golan to Damascus. Despite the launch of the negotiations, Israel staged war games near the ceasefire line bordering Syria in early August.

The military exercise in the Golan Heights raised concerns about a military strike against Syria. Damascus responded by taking measures to repel a possible military attack on its territory.

“I doubt that Zionist leaders who pressure the Palestinians and Lebanese, impose blockades, shoot them and speak daily about expansionism, threats and occupation are willing to restore their rights,” the Iranian official concluded.

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