Straw urges Iran presence in Geneva II confab

Straw urges Iran presence in Geneva II confab
Thu Jan 9, 2014 12:19:33

Former British Foreign Secretary and a present member of the UK Parliament Jack Straw has called for Iran’s participation in the upcoming international talks on the crisis in Syria.

“We believe very strongly that a solution to the terrible situation in Syria is only possible with the full involvement of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Straw said at a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

“We believe that the Islamic Republic should be invited to the Geneva II talks as a full participant without condition,” he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran is ready to help end the Syrian crisis, but it would not accept any preconditions for attending the Geneva II conference.

“Iran will not accept any preconditions for attending the Geneva II conference, but if invited to the meeting, it will play an active role in it,” Zarif said in a Tuesday meeting with Straw.

In a statement on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also said he favors Iran’s participation in the international conference.

Ban said, however, that the final decision on the participation of the Islamic Republic in the Geneva II meeting will be made in a January 13 meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The UN has set January 22, 2014 as the date for the talks. The conference will open in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22 before moving to the UN office in Geneva on January 24.

The talks aim to find a political solution to the deadly crisis that has gripped Syria since 2011.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Straw also said he supported Tehran’s rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

He further called for the implementation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia, China, France, Britain and the US - plus Germany in Geneva in November 2013.

“We are praying that there is a satisfactory outcome to the immediate discussions on implementing part one of the Geneva accord, this first document, and then there is a satisfactory outcome to the further negotiations which will follow,” he said.

Straw also referred to the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and described the group as a terrorist entity.