Iran backs Syria meeting plan, expects to be part of process

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Iran welcomes a U.S.-Russian proposal for an international conference on ending the conflict in Syria and hopes it will be held in Geneva, Vice President Mohammad-Javad Mohammadizadeh said in Geneva on Friday.

“We hope that the coming meeting would also be in Geneva and the Islamic Republic of Iran would be more than happy and pleased to assist in whatever way that it can, and we expect to be part of the process to restore peace and a better livelihood to the people of Syria,” he told Reuters through an interpreter.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s closest ally and has provided money, weapons, intelligence and training for his forces against a mainly Sunni Muslim uprising in which more than 70,000 people have been killed in two years.

Russia and the United States agreed at talks on Tuesday to try to arrange the conference, possibly by the end of this month.

The United Nations in Geneva hosted a meeting on Syria in June 2012, where Iran’s wish to attend became a bone of contention between Washington and Moscow. No venue has been confirmed but Kerry has talked of a “Geneva two” meeting.

“We are very much in harmony with the belief that the only solution would be a Syrian-Syrian solution for the future through diplomatic and political dialogues,” said Mohammadizadeh, who was in Switzerland for an environmental conference.

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