Tehran to Remain Engaged in Syria Peace Process

Tehran to Remain Engaged in Syria Peace ProcessTehran to Remain Engaged in Syria Peace Process

A senior official said Iran will fully participate in the next round of international talks on Syria.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, said the Iranian presence would allow the country to stress its positions and maintain the upper-hand in the Syrian conflict, along with allies.

In an interview with ISNA in Tehran, Velayati said on Friday that firstly, western countries and their regional partners did not want Iran to participate in the process, but a major development made them change their opinion.

"Iran was not invited to participate in the previous round of talks that included Geneva I and Geneva II, but when Russia came to Syria's aid by starting its airstrikes against terrorists late September, the West and its allies realized that they would not be able to gain any military achievements," he explained.

Velayati also said that's why they resorted to the political process and invited Iran to the Vienna talks.

" US Secretary of State John Kerry and other western foreign ministers were then stressing that without Iran, the Syrian problem has no solution," he said.

Vienna hosted the first two rounds of Syria talks on October 30 and November 14 last year. The third round of talks was held in New York on December 18. On the same day, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting an international roadmap for a peace process in Syria.

Last month, the UN announced plans to convene negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition in Geneva on January 25 in another attempt to end the deadly crisis in the Arab country.

Asked about the role of Iran in the Syrian crisis, Velayati said Tehran has been assisting Syria as well as Iraq in their fight against terrorists, upon their own requests.

"If there was no Iranian help, Damascus and probably Baghdad were now captured by the Islamic State militant group," he said.

On the contrary, Velayati said western powers and their regional allies entered Syria without being invited.

"They were trying hard to separate the member countries of the resistance front [against Israel] and make them ally with the West," Velayati said. "But their efforts were useless and Iran stood by the front and Iran helped Syria and Iraq a lot."