AFP: The United States on Thursday dismissed a 29 nation conference on the Syria crisis in Tehran, saying the Islamic Republic had been helping Bashar al-Assad kill his people.
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AFP) — The United States on Thursday dismissed a 29 nation conference on the Syria crisis in Tehran, saying the Islamic Republic had been helping Bashar al-Assad kill his people.
The meeting included Russia, China, Cuba, Iraq and Venezuela, which are friendly to Iran but it excluded the United States, its European allies and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
White House spokesman Jay Carney hit out at Iran’s role in Syria when asked whether the conference was credible or helpful.
“There is vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people,” Carney said.
Iran used the conference to back moves to start peace talks between the Syrian regime and opposition groups.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters after the meeting that “a major part of the opposition has announced that it is ready to negotiate with the Syrian government in Tehran without any preconditions.”
But there was no confirmation from the Syrian opposition, which, like Syria’s government, did not attend the Tehran conference.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, in a NBC television interview on Thursday accused Iran of playing a “nefarious” role in the Syria conflict and said its “axis of resistance” was “bad for the region.”
She also said the “momentum is shifting clearly in favor of the opposition.”
The United States and Russia, in particular, differ on how to tackle the Syrian conflict, stalling any UN action.
Moscow and Beijing have vetoed three attempts within the UN Security Council to sanction Syrian President Assad’s regime, earning US opprobrium.