Analyst: US Opposing Iran’s Presence in Geneva to Mount Pressure on Tehran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A former Russian diplomat said on Thursday Washington is against Iran’s presence in upcoming Geneva 2 Conference on Syria for political objectives, adding that the US is seeking to mount pressure on Tehran.
“The important point is that the US is trying to take advantage of the Syria issue to advance its political objectives in its relations with Iran,” Vyacheslav Matuzov told the Tasnim News Agency.
In fact, he said, the US opposition to Iran’s presence in Geneva II has nothing to do with the crisis in Syria or the Middle East developments.
He noted that Washington intends "to use the opportunity of the various political delegations' presence in that conference to secure its own interests."
Voicing Russia’s insistence on Iran’s presence in the conference, Matuzov predicted that Tehran will be invited to the conference.
The remarks by the former Russian diplomat came as Iranian deputy foreign minister reiterated on December 31 that Iran will continue its support for the political solution to the Syrian crisis regardless of the country’s participation or its absence in the upcoming peace conference on Syria in Geneva.
“The main point in this process is that the Syrian people would gain the opportunity to, firstly, restore security to their country, and secondly, find chance to participate in a democratic process to decide the future of their country,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs said on Monday evening.
He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports political solution to the Syrian crisis and whatever that may serve the interests of the Syrian nation.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced on November 25 that the much delayed Geneva 2 Conference on Syria will be held on January 22, 2014.
The conference would bring representatives from Syria's government and elements of the opposition to negotiate an end to the fighting that has raged on since March 2011.
Geneva 2 is the second sequel of Geneva 1 conference held in June 2012 in which international parties laid out a peace plan for Syria that calls for a transitional governing body. It left open the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.
The final communiqué issued on 30 June 2012, following the meeting of the so-called Action Group for Syria called for an immediate cessation of violence and the establishment of a transitional government that could include officials serving under President Bashar al-Assad and members of the opposition.
Earlier in November, US State Department said Washington might agree with Iran's participation in the upcoming talks over Syria if Tehran backed the "Geneva I Communiqué" which called for a transitional government in Syria.
Thereafter, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham announced that her country would not accept any precondition for attending peace talks on Syria.
According to UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, about 30 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, would be invited to the day-long conference on January 22 in the Swiss city of Montreux.
Brahimi told media in December that Iran's participation at the Syria peace conference had not been decided upon yet due to the US opposition.
"The US is still not convinced Iran's participation would be the right thing to do," said Brahimi at a news conference after a day of meetings with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Syria’s neighbors Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.