News / Middle East

What Does Nuclear Deal Mean for Iran's Role in Syria?

What Does Nuclear Deal Mean for Iran's Role in Syria?i
X
November 25, 2013 5:44 AM
Could the nuclear deal with Iran help ease the way toward peace talks on ending Syria's civil war? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from London, where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague are working to prepare a political transition to stop the fighting.
What Does Nuclear Deal Mean for Iran's Role in Syria?
Could the nuclear deal with Iran help ease the way toward peace talks on ending Syria's civil war? Immediately after the accord with Iran was finalized, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague set to work to prepare a political transition to stop the fighting in Syria.
 
Iran is the principal backer of Syrian military strikes against government opponents and has made clear its intention to carry that influence to planned peace talks in Geneva.
 
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says there is no excluding Tehran.
 
"Without any doubt, the Islamic Republic of Iran will play an active and constructive role in the political settlement of the Syrian problem," said Amir-Abdollahian.
 
So how does this weekend's deal to limit Iran's nuclear program affect its willingness to cooperate on Syria? Secretary Kerry said Iran choosing to "rejoin the community of nations" is an important first step toward playing a more constructive role in the region.
 
"It is fair to say that Iran’s choices have created a very significant barrier, and huge security concerns for our friends in the region, for Israel, for Gulf states and others, and obviously they have made certain choices that are deeply, profoundly unsettling in terms of stability in the region," said Kerry.
 
Tehran's support for Bashar al-Assad's military helps maintain its regional influence and resupply the Lebanon-based Islamic military group Hezbollah, while keeping its predominantly-Sunni Islam enemies off-balance, according to former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.
 
"Iran supporting Bashar al-Assad is as critical to the survival of the regime as developing a nuclear weapon," said Ereli.
 
From Geneva, Kerry came to London for talks with Hague on how Assad opponents might help form a transitional government.
 
While the main opposition coalition says it will take part in those talks, it is rejecting any further role for President Assad.  Provisional opposition deputy prime minister Aiad Koudsi thinks talking with the regime is unlikely to produce any positive results.
 
"Sitting and negotiating with the Syrian regime is kind of like a useless process, a useless exercise.  It is an exercise of futility that you cannot get anything out of it," said Koudsi.
 
That is a deal-breaker for the government in Damascus, which says it will not come to talks meant to topple the president. American University professor Akbar Ahmed thinks the Assad administration could provide an element of stability and prevent an all-out sectarian war from developing.
 
"You can see the tensions in a country like Syria, tensions which are contained by a strong man, a dictator. And when that dictator loosens his grip, as we saw with Iraq, suddenly all hell breaks loose," said Ahmed.
 
U.S. and Russian officials meeting Monday in Geneva to prepare for those talks are also working to address the war's humanitarian costs, including the needs of more than two million refugees who have fled from the fighting.

You May Like

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs