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Blocking Iran's involvement in efforts on Syria not helpful: Zarif

Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN - The countries which are seeking to prevent Iran from playing a positive role in resolving the crisis in Syria are out of touch with the realities on the ground, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Tehran on Sunday.

Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif with his Italian counterpart, Emma Bonino

He made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart, Emma Bonino, who began a two-day visit to Iran on Saturday.

This was the first time in nearly 10 years that an Italian foreign minister had traveled to Iran and followed a trip by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli in August, shortly after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's inauguration.

The visit came nearly a month after a landmark agreement between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) over Tehran's nuclear program.

During the press conference, Zarif said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced readiness to have positive and constructive participation in various efforts to find a political solution in Syria, and we believe that a view that prevents Iran from playing such a positive role is not based on reality and will not help resolve the Syrian problem."

He was referring to the fact that some countries do not want Iran to be invited to a peace conference on Syria, which is scheduled to begin in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif hailed relations between Tehran and Rome, noting that he had discussed various issues, including the situation in Syria and Afghanistan, with his Italian counterpart.

Iran should play a role in resolving Syria crisis

The Italian foreign minister, for her part, commented on the situation in Syria, saying that all regional countries should be involved in efforts to defuse the crisis in the Arab country peacefully.

"We believe that Iran should play a fundamental role in resolving the crisis in Syria," Bonino said, according a translation of her remarks carried by the Mehr News Agency.

She also commented on the prospects of Iran-Europe relations given the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, saying that she hoped the obstacles in the way of the expansion of ties between Iran and European countries would be removed as a result of the interim deal over Tehran's nuclear program.

In addition, Bonino stated that Iran and Italy had agreed to take the measures necessary to implement a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries on Afghanistan, which was signed in September.

Under the MOU, Tehran and Rome agreed to cooperate in reconstructing Afghanistan's devastated infrastructure.

The Italian foreign minister met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on the same day.

... Payvand News - 12/24/13 ... --

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