Syria's President Bashar Assad warned in an interview broadcast Sunday that an attempt to impose sanctions against his nation would destabilize the region and the entire world.
Assad was speaking to Russia's Rossiya state television before this week's release of a UN report on progress in the investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The Syrian president again declared his country's innocence in the murder, and said the UN probe was politicized.
"The Middle East is the heart of the world, and Syria is the heart of the Middle East," Assad said. "If the situation in Syria and Iraq isn't good, the whole region will become unstable, and the entire world will pay for that."