- U.S. casts doubt on credibility of Iran election
- Demonstrations in two Iranian universities
- Shahrokh Zamani and Khaled Hardani are on hunger strike
- Another civilian is sentenced to death in Khomeini Shahr
- Five Years of Imprisonment for Baha'i Leaders
- Kurdish Death Row Prisoner Transferred, His Lawyer Arrested
- US Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran
- Israel says UN pressure having no effect on curbing Iran nukes
- U.S. Congress moves to tighten sanctions on Iran
- Iran pushes ahead with new nuclear plant that worries West
- Iran acts to expand sensitive nuclear capacity: diplomats
- CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program
- Women skirt Iranian music ban with fancy dress
- Religious leaders ban 30 women from running for Iran's presidency
- Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran
- Iranians marrying foreigners without state consent face prosecution
- More women smuggling drugs out of Iran
- Canada’s High Court could try Iran for Zahra Kazemi murder
- Iranian troops are fighting in Syria, says US
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Bahrain claims Iranian drone found
- UK: Iran, Hezbollah increasing support for Assad
- When it comes to Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is walking a tightrope
- IRGC: World now eying Iranian regime's resistance
Monday 11 June 2012
REUTERS - Russia called on Monday for Iranian involvement in efforts to end the conflict in Syria, which puts it at odds with the United States, and said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Tehran on Wednesday.
Lavrov's discussions will focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, with attention to Syria, as well as a June 18-19 meeting in Moscow between global powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear programme, Russia's Foreign Ministry said.
Russia is resisting Western and Gulf Arab pressure to take a tougher stance toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rejecting calls for sanctions and advocating a conference bringing together global and regional powers including Iran.
Lavrov intends to discuss the initiative with Iran.
"Without Iranian participation, the opportunity for constructive international influence on the Syrian issue will not be utilized in full measure," the Foreign Ministry said.
Russia says the proposed conference would lend support to Kofi Annan's U.N.-backed peace plan, whose prospects for success in ending 15 months of violence are in doubt after frequent ceasefire violations and two massacres in recent weeks.
The United States says it does not believe Iran, Assad's strongest regional ally, is ready to play a constructive role in Syria, where the United Nations says government forces have killed more than 10,000 people since March 2011.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that it was "hard to imagine inviting a country that is stage-managing the Assad regime's assault on its people."
Russia is calling on all nations to use their influence on the Syrian government and rebels to seek an end to the violence and start of political dialogue, but it reiterated its opposition to foreign military or political interference.
"Spreading the 'Libyan model' on other countries of the Middle East and North Africa that are seized by revolutionary events is impermissible," the Foreign Ministry statement on Lavrov's Iran visit said.
It made no direct link between the Syrian crisis and the talks next week in Moscow between six global powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear programme, which Western nations fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons capability. Iran denies that.
Preparations for the talks, agreed at a previous round last month in Baghdad, were clouded on Sunday when Iran's deputy negotiator said the world powers were unprepared for them.
Iran wants preparatory talks that include input from experts but the countries that will be represented at the talks - the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain - have indicated that the issues should be addressed in Moscow.
"We hope all the delegations, including Iran's, will come to the Russian capital intent on constructive dialogue that would allow for positive results and further progress toward overcoming existing differences," the ministry said.
It said it was clear that the talks could not bring agreement on all issues and that Moscow believes "the negotiations process must certainly be continued after the upcoming round".