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Iran rejects US proposal to sideline Tehran's involvement in Geneva II conference

Iran rejected on Monday a US proposal suggesting that it play a "minor" role in the upcoming Geneva II conference, which aims to solve the Syrian civil conflict, saying that the Islamic Republic will only accept an offer that respects its nation's dignity.


Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham told Iranian state television that: "Iran has always announced its unconditional willingness to join the talks. But, in order to take part in the Geneva II conference, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any proposal which does not respect its dignity."

Afkham's remarks followed US Secretary of State John Kerry's suggestion on Sunday that Iran, the Syrian regime's main ally, could potentially play a role on the "sidelines" of the talks.

On Monday it was revealed that Iran is not among the list of countries the United Nations has invited to attend the conference, which will take place in the city of Montreux, Switzerland on 22 January.

The US has refused calls by Russia and other countries to allow Tehran to join the Geneva II talks; however, Kerry's remarks on Sunday opened a back door to including the Islamic Republic when he said: "Could they contribute from the sidelines? Are there ways for them conceivably to weigh in? It may be that [this] could happen, but that has to be determined by the secretary general."

Kerry also insisted that the Iranians know exactly what they need to do in order to be able to attend the Geneva II conference: to join the international efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict. "In terms of a formal invitation or participation, that is for those who support the Geneva 1 implementation," Kerry explained, referring to the previous Geneva conference's approval of a proposal to establish a transitional government in Syria.

Washington accuses the Islamic Republic of providing the Syrian regime with funds and arming the Hezbollah guerrillas who are fighting in Syria alongside the regime forces.

SOURCE: Arabi21

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