U.N. cancels Iran’s invitation to Syria talks

Iran refuses to support transitional government in Syria

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday withdrew an invitation to Iran to attend a Syria peace conference this week over its refusal to back calls for a transitional government in Syria, a spokesman said.

“He (Ban) continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva communique,” Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

“Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, (Ban) has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation,” Nesirky added.

Ban said earlier that Iran’s public statement that it did not support the 2012 Geneva deal calling for a transitional government for Syria was “not consistent” with assurances he had been given by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Syrian opposition threatened to withdraw from talks if Iran was present and the United States had demanded the invitation be retracted if Iran did not accept the communique, which called for a transitional government.

Just before the U.N. announcement, Iran’s U.N. envoy Mohammad Khazaee reaffirmed his government’s rejection of the communique adopted in Geneva in June 2012.

“Iran has always been supportive of finding a political solution for this crisis,” Khazaee said in a statement.

“However the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept any preconditions for its participation in Geneva II conference.

“If the participation of Iran is conditioned to accept Geneva I communique, Iran will not participate in Geneva II,” he said.

[With AFP and Reuters]

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