News / Middle East

Kerry Mideast Talks on Syria to Include Russian Call for Involving Iran

Kerry Mideast Talks on Syria to Include Russian Call for Involving Irani
X
May 21, 2013 9:59 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East this week for talks to promote an international peace conference on Syria. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Russia wants Iran to be part of the process.
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East this week for talks to promote an international peace conference on Syria. Russia wants Iran to be part of the process.

In this fight for control of Syria, Iran is one of the biggest backers of embattled President Bashar al-Assad.  So Russia says Iran should be part of the peace process.  

"Iran has repeatedly underlined its solidarity with the Syrian government. Iranian officials pay regular visits to Damascus.  No geopolitical bias should be an obstacle to Iran taking part in this conference," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Obama administration has in the past objected to Russia's call for Iranian involvement but says no one has yet been ruled in or out of these talks.  State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says Washington understands Moscow's position on Tehran.

"We have seen the remarks of the Russians.  Again, it’s not a surprise.  They’ve expressed that publicly in the past.  And we’ll work through the participation with all parties," Psaki said.

U.S. concerns about involving Iran include how that might distract from ongoing efforts to limit Tehran's nuclear program as well as its support for Lebanon's Hezbollah, which Syrian opposition fighters say is helping Assad forces near the Lebanese border.

"The U.S. perception is that Iran tends to play the role of spoiler in these kinds of settings.  And it's trying to bring around the table parties whom the United States and Russia agree have a vested interest in finding a productive way out of the nightmare that Syria is experiencing,"  said U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann:

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem says Iran is helping defend his country. "This is an internal war, but it's also a regional and international war against the Syrian people.  We are ready to defend ourselves and will not be silent in the face of aggression," he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says only a political settlement can head off broader regional conflict.

"With thanks to God, the situation in Syria is going well.  Syria's courageous military has regained much of its territory, and Syria will fully regain its strength in the near future," Salehi said.

Heydemann believes there is no way to end the fight without some kind of role for Iran.

"It doesn't mean that the U.S. needs to try to find ways to mollify Iran in addressing the Syria conflict.  But it does mean that we need to find some way to reassure Iran that its equities will at least be acknowledged as a process of negotiation unfolds," Heydemann said.

Syria's main opposition group has not committed to joining peace talks, in part, because of questions about which Assad allies - like Iran - will take part.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid