Iran rejects U.S. suggestion of Syrian peace talks role

By Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed ANKARA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Iran on Monday appeared to rule out participation in Syrian peace talks later this month, dismissing a U.S. suggestion that it could be involved “from the sidelines” as not respecting its dignity. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Sunday there might be ways Iran could “contribute from the sidelines” in a so-called Geneva 2 peace conference in Switzerland on January 22, and on Monday U.S. officials said Tehran might still be able to play a helpful role. While there has been a warming in U.S.-Iranian ties this year including a November 24 deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program, there are no visible signs that this has led to greater improvement in other areas such as Syria, where they are on opposite sides of the civil war. Kerry reiterated U.S. opposition to Iran being a formal member of the peace talks because it does not support a 2012 international agreement on Syria.

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