U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon has rescinded his invitation for Iran to attend the Syrian peace talks after backlash from the U.S. and the Syrian opposition, the A.P. reports.
The Iranian invitation on Sunday had appeared to surprise the U.S. and European powers, especially when Iran said that it still would not promise to support a transitional government in Syria.
Western powers had demanded that Iran “explicitly” support the departure of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
Immediately after the invitation, the Syrian opposition threatened to boycott peace talks and the U.S. called on the U.N. to take back its invitation.
Ban was “dismayed by the developments regarding participation in the Geneva conference,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters today, adding that Iran’s refusal to support a transition contradicted “assurances provided orally to the secretary general.”
The case for removing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power was strengthened today by a report finding that the regime “systematically” killed 11,000 detainees and tortured many of them. This adds to significant evidence that Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons and indiscriminately bombed civilian areas.
Assad has shown no intention of leaving power, however, and he continues to receive significant support from Iran and Russia among others.
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