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Iran’s Participation in Lausanne Meeting Fuels Clash of Power in Tehran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Damaged buildings in Jouret al-Shayah, Homs, Syria, on February 2, 2013. Reuters/Yazen Homsy

London-Iran had not yet decided whether it would participate in the meeting on Syria expected to be held in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Saturday, amid signs of disputes over the issue between the government of President Hassan Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards.

Iran was mentioned along Saudi Arabia, Russia, the U.S. and Turkey as the meeting’s participants. However, later on Friday, Tehran said it would not attend the negotiations on Syria.

The pressure exerted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on the government of Rouhani not to participate in the Lausanne meeting was very clear.

The IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency quoted informed sources at the Iranian Foreign Ministry as saying: “Iran will not attend the Lausanne meeting under any kind of representation.”

However, spokesperson of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Bahram Ghasemi came to announce later that FM Mohammad Javad Zarif would attend the meeting “after Iraq and Egypt were added” to the list of participants

The Iranian contradictory statements came amid reports that Iranians were evading any meetings with Saudi Arabia and were avoiding any summit to resolve the crisis in the region.

Meanwhile, an article published by former Iranian diplomat Hossein Mousavian in the U.S. Huffington Post newspaper said that Iran was using the Syrian case as a pressure paper in the nuclear agreement.

In Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that he was not pinning hopes on the results of the meeting in Lausanne, adding that Russia has nothing new to offer to solve the Syrian crisis.

“Moscow would suggest nothing new,” he said.

As a sign that Russia would continue to support a military solution in Syria, President Vladimir Putin ratified an intergovernmental agreement on the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces’ air group in Syria, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Spokesperson of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee Monzer Makhous told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Lausanne meeting could be an attempt to bend the arms of the opposition to accept the Russian conditions, particularly the one stipulating the splitting of opposition factions.”