The Iran Project

Iran advises US not to repeat failed experience of Geneva I conference

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Iranian parliamentary officials on Monday cautioned Washington to avoid repeating the mistake it committed at the time of the Geneva I conference on Syria and impeded Tehran’s participation in the gathering.

“The continued policy of ignoring Iran in the Middle-East scene will certainly result in continued instability to the region,” Rapporteur of the parliament’s Presiding Board Abdulreza Mesri said on Monday.

“The contents of the Geneva I agreement were never put into action and a main reason for this was Iran’s absence and it seems that the same mistake is being repeated in the Geneva II again,” he added.

Mesri said given Iran’s weight and power at domestic and international scenes, the westerners should invite Iran to the Geneva II conference to get rid of their self-made crisis in the Middle-East.

His remarks came after US Secretary of State John Kerry opposed Tehran’s participation in the Geneva II conference at ministerial level, although he asked for Tehran’s sidelined presence in the gathering.

Kerry said that it would be difficult to see how Iran could be a ministerial partner in the Geneva II talks. However, he said that Tehran could play a helpful role in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria.Kerry suggested that Iran’s diplomatic office in Geneva might be able to help as an unofficial participant.

In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham reiterated Iran’s full support for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, and urged the US secretary of state to see the region’s realities, including Iran’s undeniably influential and positive role in the settlement of regional disputes.

“Iran has repeatedly announced since the very beginning of the ongoing crisis in Syria that the problem should be solved through diplomatic solutions. Any solution to the crisis should guarantee the Syrian people’s right to determine their own destiny based on Syrian-Syrian talks,” said the spokeswoman.

Criticizing Kerry’s proposal for Iran’s sidelined participation in the Geneva II conference, Afkham said Tehran would only accept the proposals which are in line with its dignity.

 

Kerry’s comments came as Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the International Geneva II Peace Conference can play a significant role in ending the crisis in Syria, but meantime cautioned that the Syrian people and government believe that the decisions to be made at the conference will be impractical and ineffective if Iran is not invited to the meeting.

“Syria is committed to Iran’s joining to the (international Geneva II) peace conference,” said al-Moallem late December.

“It is illogical that the United States or the so-called opposition to exclude this country (Iran) from the (Geneva II) conference for political reasons,” the foreign minister added.

Also earlier in December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a phone talk with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated the necessity for Tehran’s participation in the Geneva II conference.

He also underlined the necessity and importance of Iran’s presence in the meeting.

The UN chief stressed all-out efforts of the United Nations and all effective sides and countries to work out a political solution and reach an agreement to settle the Syrian crisis.

Zarif, for his part, underscored Iran’s clear and principled stances, and said settlement of Syrian crisis would be possible only through political approaches.

In November, Zarif underlined that Iran is ready to take part in the upcoming Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis “without any preconditions”.

On November 26, Ban Ki-moon announced that the Syrian government and opposition negotiators would meet for the first time since start of the country’s 32 month-old crisis in Geneva on January 22, 2014. Ban said the landmark conference it would be “a mission of hope”.

After the UN announced the date for the gathering, Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran would be in Geneva on January 22, unless the US-led West tries to set a precondition for Tehran.

After the UN declared the date for the high-profile gathering, its envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the Geneva II conference on Syria, set for January 22, would start “without any preconditions”.

The US has long tried to ask for prerequisites to allow Tehran’s participation in the conference, but after Iran’s ally, the Syrian government, made major advances and pushed back terrorists in the battlefield, Washington now seems to have changed its approach.

Iran has repeatedly announced that it would never accept any prerequisite for its participation in the conference, reminding that no regional crisis can be soothed or solved without the aid, views and cooperation of Iran as a regional power.

In relevant remarks late September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that Tehran is ready to take part in the planned Geneva II conference on the Syrian crisis, but “without any preconditions”.

“If invited without any preconditions, Iran will participate in the Geneva II conference in order to help resolve the Syrian crisis,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with UN and Arab League Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in New York in September.

During the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian president urged an immediate settlement to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Brahimi, for his part, briefed the Iranian president on the latest developments in Syria and said he would like to see Tehran attend the upcoming Geneva II conference.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underlined that Tehran is in favor of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups to create stability in the Middle Eastern country.

Last November, Iran hosted a meeting between the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to encourage them to start talks to find a political solution to their problems. The National Dialogue Conference kicked off work in Tehran mid November with the motto of ‘No to Violence, Yes to Democracy”.

The meeting brought together almost 200 representatives of various Syrian ethnicities, political groups, minorities, the opposition, and state officials.

By Fars News Agency

 

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