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Syria Says It Supports Iran's Nuclear Research --> Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (R) review honor guards during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Damascus today (epa) 19 January 2006 -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he backs Iran's efforts to develop nuclear technology.

Al-Assad met today with visiting Iranian leader Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Damascus. He said Syria supports Iran's efforts to produce peaceful nuclear energy.

Iran has come under strong international pressure to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Ahmadinejad called for increased bilateral cooperation and consultations.

Syria is Iran's closest ally. It backed Iran two decades ago in that country's war with Iraq.

(Reuters, dpa, AP)

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