UN boots Iran out of Syria peace talks
(AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki Moon on Monday, Jan 20, 2014, abruptly excluded Iran from this week's Syria peace conference after it refused to back calls for a transitional government to end the country's war.
Mr Ban withdrew a surprise invitation to Iran less than 24 hours after it had been made, bidding to save the talks which start in the Swiss town of Montreux on Wednesday.
The UN Secretary General was forced to act after the Syrian opposition threatened to withdraw from the talks if Iran takes part. The United States also demanded the invitation be withdrawn if Iran did not support a Syria declaration adopted by major world powers in Geneva in 2012.
Iran is a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who reaffirmed that he would not stand down in an interview with AFP published on Monday.