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Iran strongly opposes US participation in Syria talks in Astana — leader’s advisor

January 18, 2017, 13:28 UTC+3 TEHRAN

Iranian leader's top advisor international affairs voiced hope that the upcoming meeting "will help the Syrian government to take a significant step towards establishing peace in the country"

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Ali Akbar Velayati

Ali Akbar Velayati

© AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

TEHRAN, January 18. /TASS/. Iran is absolutely against the US participation in the upcoming intra-Syrian talks in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top advisor on international affairs, said on Wednesday.

"Those, who patronized terrorists, equipped them and were defeated at the battleground, now want to be present in the political field for advancing their interests. The US initially insisted on overthrowing the legitimate authorities of Syria and bringing in a puppet regime instead of them," Velayati said at the meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis in Tehran, according to the Tasnim news agency.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly opposes the US participation in the intra-Syrian talks in Astana. If this happens, then tomorrow Saudi Arabia and Qatar will seek to take part in these talks - the countries that played a major role in equipping and sending terrorists to Syria," the Iranian politician, who had been a foreign minister for many years, said.

Velayati voiced hope that the upcoming intra-Syrian meeting "will help the Syrian government to take a significant step towards establishing peace in the country."

The intra-Syrian talks in Astana are scheduled for January 23. The IRNA news agency reported that the consultations will last for two days. No details on the participants of the talks have been revealed. It is expected that the talks will involve representatives of the Syrian army and armed opposition groups who will discuss issues of supporting the ceasefire regime.

The plans to hold the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition were announced after the Moscow meeting between the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers on December 20, 2016. The ministers also voiced support for establishing ceasefire in the entire Syrian territory.

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