Ex-UN chief: Iran plays key role in ME stability

Photo: Ex-UN chief: Iran plays key role in ME stability / Iran

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says the Islamic Republic of Iran plays a crucial role in guaranteeing stability in the Middle East, Press TV reported.

"If we are going to have peace and stability in the Middle East, it is essential that Iran plays its natural role in the region," said Annan, who served as UN-Arab League envoy to Syria for five months in 2012, in an interview with Reuters at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos on Friday.

Annan's remarks came after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rescinded his invitation to Iran to participate in the Geneva II conference on Syria under pressure from the United States.

The US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition were strongly opposed to Iran's participation in the event.

The so-called Syrian National Council threatened to skip the Geneva II conference entirely, and Washington said the UN must take back its invitation unless Tehran publicly backs the June 2012 Geneva communiqué, which outlines measures for a transition of power in Syria.

Iran, however, said it would take part in the conference without any precondition.

Earlier on Friday, the second day of talks on Syria came to an end in Geneva. UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said after the talks that the core matters have not yet been discussed between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition.

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