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Russia: Don’t make ‘mistake’ of excluding Iran from Syria peace talks

November 26th, 2013
03:50 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Russia warned on Tuesday that the U.S. and international community should not make the mistake of excluding Iran from upcoming Syria peace talks.

“Whether Iran is in the room or not … it’s going to be a player in Syria,” Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “So it’s better to have it in the room.”

The other option, he said, is to “alienate Iran once again.”

“That mistake has been made a number of times before,” he said. “Let’s not repeat it.”

Meanwhile, Iran, the United States, Russia, and four other world powers reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program this past weekend. Negotiators hope that the deal will lead to a permanent, comprehensive accord.

“Now the nuclear deal has been made, and the United States engaged Iran both multilaterally and bilaterally,” Churkin said.

“We believe that Iran should be invited … but the United States is against.”

The U.S. has expressed openness to Iran attending the new round of talks, but would like to see Iran accept the framework of an existing agreement that calls for a transitional government to be formed by mutual consent of all sides.

The so-called Geneva II conference called for January is aimed at getting both the Assad regime and the opposition to agree to a transitional government as a first step.

But right now, the two sides are as far apart as ever – and crucially, it’s not even clear who, if anyone, will attend from the much-fractured opposition.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that his country was ready to attend.

“We have said all along that if Iran is invited, we will participate without any preconditions,” Zarif said.

Ambassador Churkin noted that both U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the top U.N. official on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and his predecessor, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, support Iran’s attendance.

Despite the travails in getting the conference to take place, Churkin said that his “gut feeling” was that the talks would take place “unless there is a major provocation.”

“The danger now is an effort by the opposition to reverse the military situation, and to have some military gains,” he said. “Then things can go badly, and in the absence of unity among the opposition, then the convening of the conference may be at risk.”

He said it was crucial that the opposition unify and be represented, and said Russia was helping with that effort.

Russia was also an important member of negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program.

Churkin hailed that deal as “very serious” and a “great achievement” for all sides involved, which presented a “real opportunity” to put the world at ease about a potential Iranian nuclear weapon.

“If it were to happen, and we believe that there is a very good chance of that, then this threat to Israel, which has been hanging over their heads for such a long time, will be taken care of,” he said.

“So I think that the Israelis and other doubters should give everybody an opportunity – those who are involved in the actual negotiations – to move ahead on this deal.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Latest Episode • Russia • Syria
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Palmer

    all of these people who say they are the world's governments, hahahahaha, only if you listen to them.

    November 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  2. bill

    how dumb can obama really be--iran is taking over the middle east and we just gave them the keys to the car-it will be iran as the top dog against saudi and israel--this is sad. it is like obama saying the 5,000,000 who had their insurance cancelled was only a small percent when he knew that soon or at least after the elections next year there will be 80,000,000 prospects for obamacare because obama will rule that none of the companies insurance meets "the obamacare standards". this 80,000,000 plus what has happened will make us have a socialize health care system which was the real goal. Next will be energy and then education.l

    November 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  3. Harris

    Regime of Iran gave 4 billion dollars credit to the criminal Al-assad to kill the innocent Syrian kids and women!

    November 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • basil

      Any proof of your claim about Assad's tyranny?
      Meanwhile some terrorists supported by US via Quatar and Saudi Arabia – eats hearts of KIA soldiers.

      November 28, 2013 at 2:28 am | Reply
  4. Dariush

    How you can trust the regime of Iran?.
    Just Two days after big deal !! agreement with them, both Rouhani and Zaif claimed today that there is no restriction for Enriching Uranium!!
    Kerry also claimed that Iran can not enrich the Uranium!!
    Who is telling the truth!? What was the agreement for?! Can anybody explain!

    November 26, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  5. Dariush

    Russia made billions of dollars from the Iranian tax payers to erase the Obama Red lines and save the criminal regimes of Iran and Syria that have been killed Thousands of its own people and force the millions of others run away from their own countries.

    November 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • basil

      Hey-hey, the US best friend, Quatar is absolute monarchy, non democratic at all. They cut hands as penalty for thief. Why US still support it? Where is US style democracy in Quatar? And how you can say anything about Russia in this case?

      November 28, 2013 at 12:51 am | Reply
      • not billy

        yes yes, and kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most democratic country in the middle east.

        November 28, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  6. billy

    Who really cares what the Muslims do to each other. They have been killing each other for 2000 years – boring zzzzzzzzzzzz

    November 27, 2013 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • not billy

      billy, do not show you ignorance – islam is only 1600 years old. west should stop supporting certain countries in the middle east and then there will be peace

      November 28, 2013 at 12:27 am | Reply
      • Egor

        FULL interview of the Russian Ambassador, NOT CENSORED by CNN is here:

        CNN has deleted quite a few important moments. Enjoy the freedom of speach in the US style.

        November 28, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Alisba

      The reason why the countries in the middle east are always at war with each other is because they do not have a non-muslim neighbour other than Israel.. If there was one, they would have joined together and fought that non-muslim country..Now since all of them are Muslim/Islamic countries, they have no way but to fight amongst each other..and they are all fighting for peace...the eternal peace.

      November 28, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
    • AA

      Yeah, right, Muslim fought two Word Wars with each other, the colonial city states of Muslim were killing each other in Europe for three hundred years, before that Byzantine Muslims massacred East European Muslims and before that Muslim Armies of Rome went around Western Europe killing Barbarian Muslims in the world.

      December 2, 2013 at 3:56 am | Reply
  7. Jeff

    Zarif today told: We continue to construct the heavy water station in city of Arak!!!
    Can somebody explain what was the super deal agreement about?!

    November 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
  8. Tim

    Obamas top aid, Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran.
    Kerry's son in law is also was born in Iran.
    Is that reason the USA foreign policy to the fascist regimes of Iran and its friend Syria is so soft?

    November 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • not billy

      yeah this is very american to put labels on others. do you even know what 'fascist' is? and what word 'regime' actually means?

      November 28, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply
  9. basil

    O, it's perfect. Interview with Mr. Churkin was edited, and many really important things was cutted... Where is your "freedom of speech" guys?

    November 28, 2013 at 12:44 am | Reply
    • not billy

      yup this is what they did

      November 28, 2013 at 12:46 am | Reply
  10. elf

    Why did you cut some answers of russian diplomat to the most actual questions of the situation in Syria? Is it censorship or position of CNN show only one opinion?
    It's not an objective news's shame.

    November 28, 2013 at 12:48 am | Reply
  11. Oleg

    CNN cut out very important parts of the interview. There is a scandal in Russian media about it... Have a look here

    November 28, 2013 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • not billy

      Oleg, you posted like to an article written in Russian. Hardly anyone on this site can read Russian.

      November 28, 2013 at 12:53 am | Reply
      • Oleg

        Yes, I know. But try to use Google translation of the site. With mistakes, but it will give you a clue.

        November 28, 2013 at 1:01 am |
      • Alex

        here is the interview in english, uncut

        November 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  12. Vlad

    Hm, CNN is hiding important part of the interview.

    November 28, 2013 at 1:13 am | Reply
  13. basil

    О, наши почитали утренние новости 🙂

    November 28, 2013 at 1:29 am | Reply
  14. Egor

    FULL interview of the Russian Ambassador, NOT CENSORED by CNN is here:

    CNN has deleted quite a few important moments. Enjoy the freedom of speach in the US style.

    November 28, 2013 at 7:12 am | Reply
  15. Gail

    Iran will not dismantle any of its nuclear facilities as part of an effort to reach a long-term agreement to limit its nuclear development, Iranian Islamic regime President Hassan Rouhani said in an interview published Friday in The Financial Times.
    Asked during the interview if dismantling Iran's nuclear facilities was a "red line," Rouhani said: "100 percent."!!
    Zarif in another interview: We will decide our Uranium enrichment percentage after 6 months agreement!!
    Can somebody explain what was the deal agreement?!

    November 30, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
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