Head of Islamic Azad University board of founders Ali Akbar Velayati said that Head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree to open branches for Iran’s Islamic Azad University (IAU) in all Syrian cities.
Iranian Top Foreign Policy Advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also announced the approval of Iraqi parties close to Tehran to establish branches of the university in Baghdad and several Iraqi cities.
“I wrote in a letter to Bashar al-Assad that the Azad University is ready to establish branches in Syria, and he issued an order for the establishment of the Islamic Azad University in all Syrian cities,” Velayati said.
He visited Damascus on November 7, heading a delegation, and discussed with Assad, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem and Prime Minister Emad Khamis the latest developments in the Syrian arena.
It was not clear if he had discussed the issue of Azad University on that visit, but he expressed an Iranian desire for Tehran to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria.
The announcement of Assad's approval to open branches for the university, which is headed by Velayati, comes shortly after the announcement of reaching an agreement with the Iraqi government to establish of branches of the University in Karbala, Najaf, Baghdad, Basra and Erbil.
In this regard, Velayati said that he had discussed during his meeting with Leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Humam Hamoudi the establishment of branches for IAU in Iraq.
“According to an agreement that was signed before with Mr. Ammar Hakim, Hamoudi’s predecessor and prominent Iraqi politician and cleric, we will open the Islamic Azad University branches in Karbala, Najaf, Baghdad, Basra and Erbil.”
Velayati noted that the size and scope of the university in Lebanon will be expanded. He said he had discussed the issue with Lebanese Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah, who acquired the permit for the expansion plan from Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
In reference to Iran’s regional role, Velayati said “Iran supports neighboring and Islamic countries in terms of security issues, and also contributes to the development of Islamic culture, science and technology and aids regional and local achievements.”