Syria's assistance to France in winning the release of an embassy employee on trial in Tehran signaled to the West that Damascus wants to help defuse tensions over Iran's post-election turmoil, analysts said Aug. 12. France earlier specifically thanked Syria, Iran's closest Arab ally, among countries that had "provided their support" to help free Nazak Afshar, a French-Iranian citizen who is a defendant in a mass trial of pro-reform opposition supporters accused of trying to mount a "soft" revolution in Iran. (AP)

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