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Iran wants role in Syrian peace talks

  |   Jan. 6, 2014 at 1:04 PM
TEHRAN, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Monday her government could play a lead role in brokering a diplomatic end to the Syrian war.

"Iran has repeatedly announced since the very beginning of the ongoing crisis in Syria that the problem should be solved through diplomatic solutions," she was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying. "Any solution to the crisis should guarantee the Syrian people's right to determine their own destiny based on Syrian-Syrian talks."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a Sunday press conference Iran could play a constructive role in negotiating an end to the Syrian crisis from the sidelines.

Kerry said it would be difficult for Iran to play a larger role because it doesn't support a transitional government in Damascus. Nevertheless, he said members of the international community mulling the prospects of peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, would welcome Iran as a constructive partner.

"Everybody is happy to have Iran be helpful," he said.

Iran has stood behind its allegiance to Syrian President Bashar Assad since conflict erupted in March 2011.

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