Volume. 11903

Iran agree to attend Syria conference with no preconditions
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_at1(107).jpgTEHRAN – Iran has accepted the invitation by the United Nations to attend the Geneva II conference aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Monday, emphasizing that Tehran will not accept any precondition for its participation.
“We have announced before that we do not accept any precondition for our participation in the Geneva II conference and based on the official invitation that we have received, Iran will attend the conference without any preconditions,” Marzieh Afkham said.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier that he had invited Iran to attend the first day of talks on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland.
“As convener and host of the conference I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate,” Ban said. “Iran needs to participate as one of the important neighboring countries.”
“Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with full executive powers,” he added. “It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux.”
“He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening-day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June, 2012, Geneva communiqué,” Mr. Ban said.
The United States said Iran was not welcome at the talks unless it publicly accepted the Geneva I communiqué.
“This is something Iran has never done publicly and something we have long made clear is required,” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
“If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communiqué, the invitation must be rescinded,” Psaki added.
Syria’s political opposition said in a Twitter message that it would not attend the meeting unless Mr. Ban withdrew Iran’s invitation.
“The Syrian coalition announces that they will withdraw their attendance in Geneva 2 unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran’s invitation,” the Twitter message said, quoting Louay Safi, a coalition spokesman, Reuters reported.
The ultimatum came just a day after the coalition, facing a boycott by a third of its members, had voted to send a delegation to the peace talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has supported the UN decision to invite Iran to the peace conference. 
“Around 40 countries have been invited to the conference, including Australia, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, India, Indonesia,” Lavrov said. “If Iran were not on the list, that would seem profane,” he said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.
“Not to ensure that all those who may directly influence the situation are present would, I think, be an unforgivable mistake,” Lavrov told a televised press briefing.
France said on Monday that Iran should not be allowed to attend the Syria peace talks if it did not accept the creation of a transitional government with full executive powers.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it would be “very helpful” for Iran to publicly back a transitional government, AFP reported.
Saudi Arabia also believes Iran should not attend because of its stance on Geneva 1 and its military support for Assad, the Saudi Press Agency quoted an “official source” as saying, according to Reuters.

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