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Iranian Influence Grows as Islamic Republic Joins Syrian Talks

  • Presence may lead to confrontation with rival Saudi Arabia
  • Iran has increased military aid to Syrian President Assad
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference.

Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif plans to join international talks on Syria’s future in Vienna on Friday, in a sign of the Islamic Republic’s growing regional influence after the nuclear accord with global powers.

Zarif and three of his deputies will attend the meeting at the invitation of the U.S., Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said, according to state-run media. The Vienna talks come as Iran bolsters military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight with rebel groups, some of which are supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s leading regional rival.