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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A senior Iranian official says President Bashar Assad has a "pivotal" role to play in the war on terrorism and in resolving Syria's devastating four-year conflict.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said after meeting with Assad on Thursday that any "successful" attempt to find a solution should take into consideration the right of the Syrian people to shape their future.

Iran is a key backer of Assad and has said it is working on a four-point initiative to end the Syrian civil war. Abdollahian met earlier in the week with U.N. special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura while on a trip to neighboring Beirut.

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