The Iranian regime is aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his suppression of the anti-regime uprising currently underway in his country.
According to Washington and European security officials Tehran is providing the government in Damascus with the tools and means to suppress the anti-government protests. Everything from high-tech surveillance tech (unarmed drones) to weaponry Reuters reports.
One official has stated that:
"Over the past year, Iran has provided security assistance to Damascus to help shore up Assad. Tehran during the last couple of months has been aiding the Syrian regime with lethal assistance - including rifles, ammunition, and other military equipment -- to help it put down the opposition."
"Iran has provided Damascus (with) monitoring tools to help the regime suppress the opposition. It has also shared techniques on Internet surveillance and disruption."
It has also been reported that Iranian security officials have traveled to Damascus to give Assad's forces advice and training in countering dissent. The Iranian regime seems to be training them in the same methods it has used to suppress dissent and communications in its own country.
However, these officials have acknowledged and stated that the Syrian regimes survival isn't wholly dependent on Tehran's aid as Assad's regime very disorganized and can't mobilize substantial force, whilst Assad forces can wield overwhelming force against his foes.
Iran is said to have been giving aid to its important ally since early in the year long uprising. Syria is of great geopolitical importance to the regime in Tehran, as it acts as a conduit line for Iranian arm shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon. As this Haaretz report illustrates, the end of the Assad regime would serve as a severe blow to the Iranian regimes interests in the region.
This Associated Press report from last January reporting on a visit from a member of the Iran Quds Force also demonstrates the high-level of cooperation between the two regimes and the vested interests they have in crushing opposition to their dictatorial rules.