TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, worried about the revival of reformist protests at home, has urged his closest ally Syria to open talks with an opposition movement that is demanding an end to President Bashar Assad's rule.
In an interview with a Portuguese broadcaster, Ahmadinejad said a military crackdown "is never the right solution", the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
"Governments have to respect and recognize their nations' rights for freedom and justice... Problems have to be resolved through dialogue," Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling Radiotelevisao Portuguesa in Tehran on Wednesday.
Iranian officials have repeatedly called on Syria to respect the opposition's demands for reform.