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Iran President Urges Restraint Of Syria's Assad


A Youtube video grab shows what antiregime activists in Syria say are pro-government militia members dressed as soldiers kicking the corpse of a man in the city of Homs on September 5.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has urged his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, to back away from his crackdown on protesters and enter talks with the opposition.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks in an interview with Portuguese broadcaster Radioteleviao Portuguesa.

Iran, a key ally of Damascus, has blamed the United States and Israel for instigating more than five months of protests in Syria.

The United States and other nations have accused Iran of helping Assad crush the uprising.

Earlier in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accused Assad's regime of committing crimes against humanity.

Last month, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and the United States circulated a draft resolution for sanctions against Assad and his associates. Russia and China voiced opposition to the document.

There was no indication of a change in Russia's position after Juppe's talks with Lavrov.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces continue their crackdown on protesters. On September 7, at least 20 civilians were reported killed when Syrian troops backed with tanks raided districts of the city of Homs.

It came as the Arab League said that its secretary-general would visit Syria on September 10 and Arab foreign ministers would meet next week to convey concerns over the crackdown.

The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed in Syria since protests erupted against the ruling regime there in mid-March.

compiled froma agency reports