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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs