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.