Syrian Opposition Rejects Annan’s Call for Iranian Role in Talks

Syria’s main opposition group rejected United Nations envoy Kofi Annan’s call for an Iranian role in resolving the country’s crisis, describing it as an accomplice in President Bashar al-Assad’s aggression.

The Iranians “cannot be part of the solution unless their positions change radically,” the Syrian National Council said in a statement posted on its Facebook page today.

Iran has stood by the regime in Syria, its most steadfast Arab ally, since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011. In a July 7 interview with Le Monde, Annan said that Shiite Iran can’t be ignored as an influential ally of Syria. While Russia has influence on the situation, he isn’t certain that events will be determined by that country only, Annan said.

The former UN secretary-general arrived in Damascus yesterday for talks with Assad to try to revive the cease-fire plan he brokered in April. The uprising that began peacefully 16 months ago and evolved into a deadly confrontation has confounded the international community, which disagrees on the strategy needed to persuade the Syrian president, whose family has held power for four decades, to leave.

-- Editors: Francis Harris, Louis Meixler

To contact the reporters on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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