DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Saeed Jalili, a top aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday, the official SANA news agency reported.
“President Bashar al-Assad has received Saeed Jalili, secretary of (Iran's) supreme national security council,” it said without giving further details.
Jalali was due to hold a news conference later following his talks in the Syrian capital.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes in national dialogue between all domestic groups to be the solution, and believes foreign solutions are not helpful,” Iran's state media quoted him as saying on his arrival from neighbouring Lebanon.
“We hope to take an effective step in regards to this new direction.”In Beirut on Monday, Jalili issued a veiled warning to countries backing the Syrian rebels.
“Those who believe that, by developing insecurity in the countries of the region by sending arms and exporting terrorism, they are buying security for themselves are wrong,” he told Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.
“We believe that Syria's friends must help to totally stop the violence, organise national dialogue and general elections in this country, and send humanitarian aid for the Syrian population,” he was quoted as saying.
Iran, Assad's key ally, has been increasingly critical of support by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the rebels fighting Syria's armed forces.
The Syrian rebels and the United States in turn accuse Iran of providing military support to Assad's government, a charge Tehran denies.