Cleric Rejects Iran's Marginal Role in Syria Peace Conference
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A top Iranian cleric praised the country’s foreign ministry for timely reaction to the remarks made by the US secretary of state, who proposed Iran’s participation on the sidelines of the conference on Syria, and said such a role is against Iran's dignity.
Addressing a large gathering of worshippers here in Tehran today, Tehran's Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani acclaimed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for rejecting any precondition for the country’s presence in the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria.
The senior cleric also commended the country’s foreign ministry for its proper reaction to the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments on how Tehran should attend at the upcoming peace conference on Syria.
Kerry had announced on Sunday that Iran could be helpful even on the sidelines of a second round of Geneva talks on Syria.
The top US diplomat made clear that it would be difficult to see how Tehran could be a "ministerial partner" in the upcoming negotiations because it did not participate in the first round of talks.
But shortly afterwards, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham lashed out at the US secretary of state for his recent remarks on Iran’s possible role on the sidelines of the upcoming Geneva 2 conference on Syria, saying Tehran only accepts proposals that uphold the country's dignity.
“Tehran only accepts proposals that would comply with the Islamic Republic of Iran's honor,” she said.
And on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Zarif also made clear that Tehran backs any solution to the Syrian crisis that would include political and Syrian-Syrian approaches.
The Iranian minister, however, rejected any precondition for the country’s attendance at the long-awaited Geneva 2 conference, and insisted that “Iran will spare no effort to help settle the Syrian crisis.”
He emphasized that Iran is ready to be “officially and fully” present in the upcoming conference, in case it receives a formal invitation.
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.