Spokeswoman: Iran never asked to be at peace conference on Syria

Photo: Spokeswoman: Iran never asked to be at peace conference on Syria / Iran

By Umid Niayesh, Saeed Isayev - Trend:

Iran has never asked to participate in the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, Iranian State IRINN TV reported on Jan. 21.

Afkham made the remarks during her weekly press conference in Tehran.

The Geneva 2 peace conference is a proposed UN backed international conference to take place in Geneva with the aim of ending the Syrian civil war and is scheduled to be held on Jan. 22.

Commenting on withdrawal of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon`s invitation for Iran to attend Geneva 2 peace conference, Afkham expressed regret, saying that the Secretary-General has withdrew his invitation under pressure.

On Jan. 20, Ban Ki-moon withdrew the invitation after Tehran declared it does not support the June 2012 political transition deal that is the basis for the talks.

Afkham underlined that Iran has repeatedly announced that would it not accept any preconditions to attend the conference.

She underscored that the UN General Secretary should announce the real reason behind the withdrawal of the invitation.

Washington has opposed Iran's attendance at Geneva 2 because it has not signed up to a core element of the so-called 'Geneva 1' framework. This says a future Syrian government must be formed by 'mutual consent' of the authorities and the opposition, a stance the United States says means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot stay in power.

Geneva Nuclear deal

Speaking on the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1, Afkham said that the two sides are working on preparations of the talks, adding that the time of next round of negotiations will be announced publicly when specified.

She also underlined that the Geneva nuclear deal is not against Iran`s redlines, adding that the Iranian negotiation team consulted with the country senior officials during the preparing process of the "joint action plan".

On January 12, Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers finalized the agreement to start the implementation of the Geneva nuclear deal from January 20.

The agreement, which was reached among Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- Russia, China, France, Great Britain, and the United States -- plus Germany in Geneva on November 24, 2013, is aimed at setting the stage for the full resolution of the West's decade-old standoff with Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

Commenting on the some criticisms about the deal, Afkham said that, misunderstandings are natural but the opinion of the Iranian public on the issue, should not be distorted.

She went on to say that Iran "should not be affected by foreign media and unofficial statements."

Responding to a question about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper`s statement that "his government does not aim to ease Iran sanctions" Afkham said that Iran's counterpart is P5+1, not Canada.

She expressed hope that Canadian government will be realistic towards the new situation on international arena.

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