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Syrias President Bashar al-Assad is seen during an interview to the American magazine Foreign Affairs in Damascus..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Iran spending billions to back Assad
An estimated $6 billion is spent annually by the Shi'ite regime on supporting its Syrian ally.
Iran has allocated billions of dollars a year to the backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in the midst of the heated Syrian civil war and ongoing nuclear negotiations with the Western world, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

The billion dollar figure, much higher than implied by the Obama administration, hints at an Iranian agenda to destabilize the region.

A spokesmen for the UN envoy to Syria told Bloomberg that an estimated $6 billion are spent annually to support the Assad regime. Other experts estimate the figure to be much higher - crossing the threshold to $14-15 billion in military aid.

Iran has been able to funnel funds to war-stricken Syria despite international sanctions cutting off the Shi'ite nation from the international financial system.

Washington has played down the extent of Iran's financial support of Assad's military.

In an interview on Israeli television last week, US President Barack Obama said Iran's military budget should not be a reason for concern. "Their budget - their military budget - is $15 billion compared to $150 billion for the Gulf States," he said.

The Iranian regime remains mum on its military budget and does not disclose information on sums spent on subsidies for allies. In accordance, all numbers are estimates.

Yet experts remain firm on the fact that Iran supports Assad's regime substantially, with billions spent annually on lines of credit, subsidies for weapons, and military resources for Assad's Syria.
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