TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Ranking diplomats from Sweden and Syria separately met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Monday.

Heading a diplomatic delegation, Swedish Deputy Foreign Minister Annika Soder had a meeting with the Iranian minister for talks on a range of issues.

They weighed plans for closer economic and political ties between Tehran and Stockholm, and also discussed banking interaction, Iran-EU relations, regional issues –including the crisis in Syria- and ways to fight narcotics trafficking.

Zarif also met Syria’s visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and his entourage. Their talks revolved around the latest situation in Syria and the results of a recent trilateral meeting of Iran, Russia, and Syria in Moscow.

Lauding Iran’s principled policies toward regional issues, especially the crisis in Syria, Mekdad called for closer interaction among friends of Syria, including Iran, which he said is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

In the meantime, Iran and Russia have remained close allies of Syria and support its legitimate government in the face of foreign-backed militancy.

Tehran insists that the Syrian nation is the only side that has the right to shape the future of its own country, rejecting foreign intervention with the use of force.