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Syria - Oct 22, 2011 - 17:19

Last modified: 22 Oct 2011 13:19

AFP - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the "killings and massacre" in Syria in an interview with CNN, in Iran's strongest criticism yet of its key ally's deadly seven-month-old crackdown on dissent.

"We condemn killings and massacre in Syria, whether it is security forces being killed or people and the opposition," Ahmadinejad said, according to excerpts of the interview reported in Farsi by the website of Iran's state broadcaster on Saturday.

"We have a clear formula for Syria and that is for all sides to sit together and reach an understanding... therefore these killings cannot solve any problems and in the long term it will lead to a deadlock," he added.

Ahmadinejad's comments, the strongest so far from an Iranian official against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, come as Damascus presses a crackdown on nationwide protests that has killed more than 3,000 people since March 15, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

"When people are being killed, it paves the way for more quarrels... There should be no foreign interference (in Syria)," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.