New York, NY, United States (4E) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday withdrew his invitation to Iran to join Wednesday’s Syria peace talks in Switzerland as the anti-Tehran Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the meeting.
Ban’s spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said the UN chief is withdrawing the invitation made Sunday after a press announcement by Tehran contradicted his earlier verbal agreement with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that Iran should recognize the establishment of a transitional government in Syria as the basis of the second peace talks in Geneva.
Tehran on Monday announced it will attend the peace conference that will open in Montreaux aimed at ending the three-year-old civil war in Syria without the condition that it first support the proposed establishment of a transitional government in Syria.
“We will not accept any preconditions for our presence in the Geneva II and we will take part in the conference as per the invitation (extended to Iran) and without any precondition,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, according to Fars News Agency.
Ban’s move also followed the threat of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to pull out from the peace talks if Iran is represented in the meeting and the call of the U.S. for him to recall the invitation.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Monday said the invitation must be rescinded if Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva I communiqué, which calls for the transition government that will hold free elections to choose the country’s new leader.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Monday he is gunning for reelection in June and rejected participation of the SNC in the new government.