President Obama today met with Jordan's King Abdullah II, and both leaders reaffirmed their calls for Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad to step down.
Speaking after their meeting Mr. Obama said, “We will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside, so that a more democratic process of transition can take place inside of Syria.”
The president also praised King Abdullah for being “the first Arab leader to publicly call on President Assad to step down in the face of terrible brutality.”
Also Tuesday, senior White House officials announced there are strong signs that Iran is supplying weapons to Syria. According to National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, a recent visit by a ranking official within Iran’s elite Quds force, Commander Ghassem Soleimani, provides evidence of high-level cooperation between the countries.
In a statement Vietor said, “Assad is running out of money to continue financing his crackdown and has turned to Syria's only ally left -- Iran -- for help, as evidenced by IRGC-Quds Force Commander Soleimani's recent visit to Damascus.”
The White House has long believed that Iran was aiding Syria in the crackdown on its own citizens.
The United Nations estimates as many as 5,000 people have been killed since mass protests began in Syria last March. The United States and several other countries have called on Assad to step down, but so far he has shown no signs of heeding their calls.
Tensions are also mounting between the United States and Iran after the U.S. imposed stiffer sanctions and after Iran threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz, which is used to transport about a fifth of the world’s oil.
President Obama said that he and King Abdullah discussed Iran, but did not go into any detail nor did he answer questions about Iran shouted by reporters.