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Annan: Iran should be part of solution in Syria
TEHRAN- International envoy Kofi Annan said Tuesday that Iran must be "part of the solution" to the bloody crisis in its close ally Syria, and that the Tehran has offered its support to end the conflict.
Annan discussed Syria crisis in the Iranian capital with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Press reports said Tuesday that Kofi Annan seeks "positive role" from Iran in Syria conflict, warning of disaster if his plan to end violence fails.
Annan said in Tehran that Iran can play a “positive” role in resolving the Syrian crisis, and that the Islamic republic has offered support for ending the conflict peacefully.
Speaking at the joint news conference after talks, Annan said "I must say that throughout my assumption of the function of special envoy, I have received encouragement and cooperation from the [Iranian foreign] minister and from the government, and I look forward to working together, continuing to work together, to resolve this conflict."
Annan did not specify what support Iran has offered to resolve the conflict. But Tehran, along with Russia, is the Syrian regime’s main remaining international allies.
However, the United States and European Union, which are in a dispute with Iran over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, have objected to Iran playing a role in settling the 16-month-old conflict between the Syrian government and opponents who seek the end of the regime.
Annan said he could only speak for himself regarding Iranian involvement. He also called on all sides to work together to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria and defuse it to prevent its bad consequences on the region.
"There is a risk that the situation in Syrian gets out of hand and spreads to the region," Annan told a joint news conference with Salehi, who hailed Annan's "neutrality".
For his part, Foreign Minister Salehi expressed Iran's full support for Annan's peace plan aimed at ending the Syrian bloodshed.
The Iranian foreign minister also reiterated Tehran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime, saying the president should be given the chance to implement his promised reforms.
Salehi said "any wrong decisions" in regard to the Syrian conflict "could lead to a regional catastrophe."
Salehi added Tehran backs the rights of the Syrian people but opposes military intervention, and blamed the conflict's increasingly chaotic violence on the meddling of foreign powers.
"Unfortunately, the unwise interference of others has caused the situation in Syria to remain critical," Salehi said.
"The worsening of the situation should not happen. It would not benefit anyone in the region." he added.
Before flying to Tehran, Annan said in Damascus on Monday he had agreed on a new approach with President Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence.
Last week, Annan acknowledged that international efforts to find a political solution for Syria had failed and called for a greater role for Iran, saying Tehran "should be part of the solution".
Activists say the violence in Syria has killed more than 17,000 people since the conflict began in March 2011.