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Iran rejects conditions on attendance at Syrian peace talks - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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File photo—Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Marzieh Afkham speaks to the media in Tehran, Iran, 10 September 2013.(EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH)

File photo—Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Marzieh Afkham speaks to the media in Tehran, Iran, 10 September 2013.(EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, announced on Tuesday that Tehran will not accept any preconditions on its participation in the planned Geneva II conference, intended to solve the Syrian crisis.

The statement followed calls from the US on Monday for Iran to support the formation of a new, transitional government in Damascus, which was called for at a previous conference in Geneva in 2012.

A US State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, told reporters “If—and this is an if—Iran were to endorse and embrace the Geneva Communiqué publicly, we would view the possibility of their participation [at Geneva II] more openly.”

Afkham, however, said that Iran rejects the imposition of any preconditions to its participation in the diplomatic efforts to end the civil war in Syria.

In a statement broadcast on Iranian television, Afkhan said “If our participation is in the interests of achieving a solution, then it is not acceptable to impose conditions to inviting the Islamic Republic. We will not accept such conditions.”

The 2012 Geneva Communiqué, which put forward a diplomatic roadmap for settling the conflict, was agreed on by major powers including the United States, Russia, the Gulf States, Iraq and Turkey.

Iran, however, was not invited to the first conference and did not endorse the corresponding agreement.

In addition, the agreement was formulated on the basis that the transitional government should be picked jointly by the government of Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian opposition. Washington insists that that this will effectively prevent Assad from staying in power.

Harf later added in her statement that excluding Iran from the talks would “deprive the negotiations of Tehran’s constructive role.”

The United States and Iran have recently begun a diplomatic rapprochement. On September 27, US President Obama spoke on the phone with the newly elected Hassan Rouhani marking the highest level of diplomatic contact between the two states since 1979.

Delegations from the United States, Iran, as well as from the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany and Russia, will be traveling to Geneva to hold separate talks on October 15-16 regarding the disputes surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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