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Iran says will attend Syria talks, rejects conditions; UN chief 'dismayed'

Published on Jan 21, 2014 1:56 AM

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran will attend Syrian peace talks this week in Switzerland but without preconditions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham told the official Irna news agency. "Based on the official invitation, Iran will participate in this conference without any preconditions," Ms Afkham was quoted as saying.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon sparked a furore on Sunday by inviting Iran to the so-called Geneva II peace talks due to open on Wednesday.

But a spokesman has said that Mr Ban was "dismayed" by Iran's refusal to back the Syrian transitional government, and was "urgently considering his options" on the Syria peace talks.

Mr Ban's invitation came after Teheran vowed to play a "very positive and constructive role" in efforts to end Syria's worsening three-year civil war that the UN says has claimed well over 100,000 lives.

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