Source: Radio Zamaneh
Russia has once again emphasized the need to include Iran in the International Conference aimed at ending the civil war in Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Iran's Supreme Leader in Tehran in August 2009
Reuters reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday March 16: "Our colleagues have a tendency toward shrinking the foreign participants in the conference, so basically the setup is to be carried out with a handful of countries in a framework that has been determined previously, and the negotiating groups, the agenda and perhaps even the outcomes are pre-set."
Russia and the U.S. agreed this month to hold an international conference, which would include groups representing the Beshar Assad government and the opposition.
However, there has been no agreement on including Iran in the negotiations.
Syria - Iran map
Lavrov said: "You can't exclude Iran from this process because of one's geopolitical preferences. Iran, as a foreign country, has an important role, but we have not reached consensus on this."
The U.S. State Department spokesman has remarked that it is not the U.S. that will decide if Iran will participate or not, but rather its allies in the United Nations together with Washington will make the final decision.
Iran has remained a supporter of the Beshar Assad government throughout the conflict that has torn Syria for the past two years.
Iran has indicated that it is prepared to participate in the conference with an eye to resolving the conflict.
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