Amwal Al Ghad English - 2014-01-07 08:15:22
Iran on Monday appeared to rule out participation in Syrian peace talks later this month, dismissing a U.S. suggestion that it could be involved "from the sidelines" as not respecting its dignity.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Sunday there might be ways Iran could "contribute from the sidelines" in a so-called Geneva 2 peace conference in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22, and on Monday U.S. officials said Tehran might still be able to play a helpful role.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was sending out invitations on Monday to potential participants the talks, but while he wants Iran to attend there was no agreement yet on whether to invite it.
The key players in the talks are President Bashar al-Assad's government and opposition rebels who have been fighting for nearly three years to oust him.
Syrian opposition groups and Washington, which accuse Tehran of supporting Assad with manpower and arms during the uprising against him, have long had reservations about the participation of Iran, although the United Nations special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has backed Tehran's involvement.
While there has been a warming in U.S.-Iranian ties this year including a November 24 deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program, there are no visible signs that this has led to greater improvement in other areas such as Syria, where they are on opposite sides of the civil war. More»