MP Terms UN Withdrawal of Iran Invitation to Syria Talks as “Shameful”

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A prominent Iranian legislator denounced the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to retract his invitation to Iran to attend the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria as a “shameful" action in the history of the world body.

MP Terms UN Withdrawal of Iran Invitation to Syria Talks as “Shameful”

“The United Nations secretary general’s measure is indeed discreditable in the history of performance of the organization,” Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the rapporteur of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

His remarks came after Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky announced at a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday that Iran was no longer welcome at the initial day of the talks in the Swiss city of Montreux on Wednesday.

This comes after the UN chief had on Sunday officially invited Iran to attend the first day of the conference on January 22, when preliminary talks in a meeting of foreign ministers are due to open in the Swiss city.

But in an extraordinary turnabout, the UN chief on Monday withdrew his invitation to Iran under pressure from the United States.

Criticizing Ban for his decision to ignore Iran in the upcoming conference, Naqavi Hosseini added, “Iran has never demanded to participate in the Geneva 2 (conference), nor has it been eager to attend this conference.”

Ban Ki-moon’s change of heart is believed to come under the influence of the US, as he had earlier described Iran as “one of the important neighboring countries” that needs to participate in the long-awaited Geneva 2 peace talks.

But the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition were strongly opposed to Iran’s participation in the event.

The US said earlier that the UN must take back its invitation unless Tehran publicly backs the 2012 roadmap to establish a transitional government in Syria, and the so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) threatened to skip the Geneva 2 conference entirely.

The Geneva 1 final communiqué, issued on 30 June 2012, outlines measures for a transition of power in Syria, and its key demand means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will have to step down.

But Iranian officials have on different occasions made clear that they would not endorse the conclusion of the previous conference as a basis for the upcoming talks.

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