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​Tehran Says Syrian Election Will Strengthen Assad's Legitimacy

A senior Iranian official says the upcoming presidential election in Syria will strengthen the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Tehran.

Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the official IRNA news agency on May 30 that the election will be held "without a hitch" in light, he said, of the relative security established in Syria.

Assad is expected to easily win the June 3 election, branded a farce by the West.

Velayati said the Syrian people have realized Assad "has prevented Syria from disintegrating or falling to occupation."

Velayati dismissed Western opposition to the election, saying only Syrians have the right to determine their country's future.

Iran has provided financial and military support to Assad during the Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011.
Based on reporting by AFP and