Syria’s political oppositions reluctant to Iranian participation

A senior member of Syria’s political opposition said on Wednesday that the participation of Iran in the Syrian peace talks in Vienna, would undermine the political process.

The United States has said that Iran, the main regional ally of President Bashar al-Assad, would be invited to Friday’s talks and the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his deputies would attend.

About a dozen participants are expected including Russia and Saudi Arabia, which back Assad and his opponents, respectively.

Hisham Marwa, Vice-President of the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition, criticised any participation in the talks by Iran but didn’t say that it would refuse participation itself if Iran was involved.

“Iran doesn’t believe in the Geneva Communiqué. Involving it (Iran) in talks undermines the political process,” he told Reuters, speaking of an internationally agreed document setting out guidelines for Syria’s path to peace and a political transition.

Asked whether the Coalition would refuse to take part in talks, he said, “What’s important now is not to refuse talks, it is important to express our concern. Iran has only one project – to keep Assad in power… they don’t believe in the principle of the talks”, reports Reuters.

In January 2014 the opposition body refused to attend political talks in Switzerland unless the United Nations retracted its invitation to Iran.