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                                        Volume. 11900

‘U.S. should stop contradicting itself, send Geneva II invitation to Iran’
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TEHRAN – The U.S. should not send mixed messages to Tehran over its participation in the upcoming Geneva II talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict, as it could potentially damage a P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, political analyst Kaveh Afrasiabi told RT in an interview published on Tuesday. 
 
Following are excerpts of the text of the interview: 
 
RT: How important do you think Iran's participation in the upcoming conference (on Syria) is?
 
Kaveh Afrasiabi: Well I think it is very important since Iran is a strategic state in a strategic alliance with Syria dating decades and is highly involved directly and indirectly in the Syrian theatre. Given the complex and multi-faceted nature of the Syrian conflict that involves the regional states and proxy wars and so forth, it is very important to get Iran involved, so there would be mediation not only between the Syrian government and the opposition, but also between competing regional states, principally Iran and Saudi Arabia. 
 
RT: At first we heard Kerry say that he is inviting Iran to the talks but now the State department is making excuses saying that Iran won't have time to prepare for the conference. So what is the U.S. actual stance on Iran's role in the Geneva II Conference?
 
KA: Well, it beats the hell out of me because we see contradictory signals and obviously the U.S. is undecided on this issue. That is very unfortunate because it sends the wrong signal to Iran - even have adverse consequences with respect to confidence building on the nuclear issue. 
 
Iran has stated its preparedness to participate and make constructive contributions for a political settlement in Syria and has already proven its intention by supporting the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament, as well as holding Syrian dialogue conferences with participation by various representatives of religious and ethnic spectrums in Syria. 
 
So I think that the U.S. should stop this self-contradiction, send an invitation through UN to Iran so that all the parties that have a stake in this conflict could participate and bring an end to this tragic, catastrophic conflict.
 
RT: The U.S. is waiting for Iran to comply with the Geneva I communique, which means agreeing to a transitional government in Syria. So how likely is it that Iran will comply? 
 
KA: Well, first of all, the U.S. has its own peculiar interpretation of Geneva I that does not mention President Assad stepping down, yet the U.S. is making that a priority, at least some officials in the U.S. government do.
 
And if you look at the pronouncements from Tehran, from foreign minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, who is touring the region nowadays, you’ll see that he is putting the emphasis on electoral politics, on a free participatory election in Syria and hinting that Iran will weigh in on Syria with respect to the de-escalation of conflict and there are issues with respect to humanitarian access, prisoner swap, and localized ceasefire, and on all these issues Iran can be the contributing factor.
 
And I think that there are ways of pronouncing or stating support for various aspects of the Geneva I final communique that Iran has not denounced or renounced or stated opposition to it, but is just a very peculiar, I think, over interpretation of it by some Western powers, above all the U.S.
 
EP/PA 

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