Syria denies rift between Damascus and Teheran

Syria on Sunday denied any rift between Damascus and Iran during a visit to Teheran by the Syrian President Bashar Assad, who accused the "enemies" of Islamic countries of trying to sow discord. Assad's visit, his fifth since taking office in 2000, comes at a time when some Arab diplomats have said Syria feels betrayed by Iran because of a joint Iranian-Saudi Arabian effort to clamp down on sectarian tensions in Iraq and violence in Lebanon. Syria has largely alienated many of its traditional Arab allies but has had close ties to Iran for years. "The creation of a rift among Muslims is their latest weapon, which is more dangerous than their previous plans," Assad was quoted as saying on the Iranian state television's Web site on Sunday, a day after the Syrian leader ended his visit to Iran. The site did not elaborate on who those "enemies" might be, but during his two-day trip the Syrian president also accused the US and Israel of having "ominous aims."