Iran confirms receiving US invitation to Syria talks

2015-10-28 19:31
Mohammad Javad Zarif  (AP)

Mohammad Javad Zarif (AP)

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Tehran - Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had received an invitation from the United States to take part this week in talks on the Syrian conflict, but left open the possibility of it attending.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will discuss the talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Ministry spokesperson  Marsieh Afkham told the Fars news agency.

The Iranian news agency IRNA said in an editorial on Wednesday that US openness to Iran participating in the Syria talks is the Western power's "first sign of reason" on the matter.

"Reason is the key to a solution in the Syria crisis," the agency wrote.

The US State Department said on Tuesday for the first time that Washington was open to Iranian participation in the Vienna talks.

"In looking for different multilateral settings and for the right key partners to be present, we do expect in this case that Iran will be invited to participate," department spokesperson John Kirby said in Washington.

Iran is a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose regime has been fighting Islamist militants and other rebel groups in a four-year civil war. An estimated 250 000 people have been killed in the conflict, and more than half its pre-war population has been made into refugees.

The US has lent its support to anti-Assad forces. However, both sides are seeking to control the spread of Islamic State jihadist forces in both Syria and Iraq. The United States and Iran have seen some cautious co-operation in Iraq.

The two foes, which have not had diplomatic ties since 1980, are also party to a nuclear agreement signed in July with Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany. Iran agreed to nuclear controls in return for the lifting of sanctions against it.

Kirby said that whether Iran attends on Friday was "up to Iranian leaders".

The IRNA editorial noted that the US and its allies must first acknowledge their mistakes in Syria - which Iran blames for the country's humanitarian catastrophe - before Iran can become a full partner.

Read more on:    syria  |  iran

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