Iran dismisses preconditions for attending Geneva conference on Syria

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran once again rejected any precondition for taking part in Geneva 2 Conference on Syria, but expressed readiness to contribute to resolving the prolonged conflict in the Arab country.

Speaking in a weekly press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham renewed the Islamic Republic’s preparedness to help settle the lingering crisis in Syria, but noted that setting any precondition for Tehran’s attendance at the Geneva 2 Conference would “make no sense.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Monday in Doha, Qatar, that all countries in the region needed to reach across the sectarian divide to contain threats of violence and extremism, particularly in Syria.

“We should all work to end violence to bring about a political solution to end this tragedy that is a shame for both the Sunnis and Shiites,” said Zarif.

And on the same day in Tehran, he stressed that a “political option” is the only solution to the Syrian conflict and warned that the civil war could cause the spread of extremism and sectarianism in the region.

“We believe that Syria’s future should be determined by the Syrian people only through ballot boxes,” Zarif said. “There is no solution to the Syrian crisis except by a political settlement. The military solution is an illusion.”

In relevant comments on November 26, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is ready to attend the Geneva 2 Conference on Syria and to contribute to the resolution of the raging conflict in that country.

“If invited, Iran will attend the meeting with the aim achieving results and with no preconditions,” Zarif said.

Iran is definitely among the participants in the forthcoming International Geneva II Peace Conference on Syria, UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi was quoted as saying by a high-ranking official at the United Nations last week.

“Mr Brahimi made clear that Iran is certainly among the list of possible participants (in the Geneva II),” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a press briefing on November 24 in response to a question about Iran’s presence in the peace talks on Syria.

The UN Secretary General announced on November 25 that the much delayed Geneva II Conference on Syria will be held on January 22, 2014.

He added the conference aimed to pave the way for “the establishment, based on mutual consent, of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities.”

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. Yet the opposition is hardly a single group; it consists of numerous factions that often oppose each other.

Geneva II is the second sequel of Geneva I 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.

Iran says it is the Syrian people who must decide who should rule them, in a free and fair election, and not the world powers.

By Tasnim News Agency


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