Key Syrian government ally Iran congratulated President Bashar al-Assad Friday on his landslide election victory, describing it as a "big step" towards restoring peace after a decade of civil war.
Official results announced late Thursday gave Assad more than 95 percent of the vote in Wednesday's election held in government-held areas, extending his grip on power for a fourth term."The Islamic Republic of Iran congratulates President Assad and the resilient Syrian people on their decisive victory in this election," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"The successful organisation of the election and the massive turnout by the Syrian people mark a big step in establishing peace."
Assad's other key ally Russia also congratulated him Friday, hailing his "decisive victory" as an "important step towards strengthening... internal stability".