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Assad to visit Tehran

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Syrian President Bashar Assad will visit Iran.

Assad’s planned visit next week to formally congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his second term as president was reported Friday by Iranian news agencies.

The Obama administration hopes to entice Syria away from Iran’s influence as a means of isolating the Islamic Republic, and top U.S. officials have visited Damasucs in recent months.

Much of the world has yet to recognize Ahmadinejad’s victory in June elections, which were widely considered to have been rigged and sparked mass protests in Iran.