EU: Tehran Should Play Constructive Role on Syria

EU: Tehran Should Play Constructive Role on Syria
EU: Tehran Should Play Constructive Role on Syria

The European Union's top diplomat on Tuesday voiced the hope that Iran would play an important and constructive role in a renewed United Nations push to restart negotiations aimed at ending the four-year conflict in Syria.

The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has said he will begin meeting in May with the country's government, opposition groups and regional powers including Iran to assess by the end of June whether there is any hope brokering an end to the war.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said it was crucial that the EU and the six major powers successfully conclude nuclear talks with Tehran, which she said could boost Iran's regional role in a positive manner, Reuters reported.

"The best possible approach you can have is ... on one side have a positive outcome of the nuclear talks so that we can be sure that they cannot develop a nuclear weapon," she said.

Iran denies its nuclear activities may have any military objectives, saying the work is solely for peaceful applications such as generating electricity.

"On the other side, call for Iran to play a major, major but positive, role on Syria in particular, to encourage the regime to ... (support) a Syrian-led transition," said Mogherini, referring to a 2012 UN plan for a political transition in Syria.

The deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran is June 30. Iran and the six powers (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) reached a tentative deal on April 2.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked de Mistura earlier this month to "focus much more to re-launch a political process" after his attempt to broker a local truce in Aleppo failed to materialize.

Mogherini suggested that including Iran was crucial. "I understand very well the concerns of many Arab countries, not only Arab countries, in the region on the role of Iran," she said. "But I am also convinced that it would be naive to imagine that a country like Iran could simply disappear from the map."