Iran blames collapse of Syria peace talks on participation of ‘terrorists’

Friday 05/02/2016
One man’s terrorist, another man’s freedom fighter

TEHRAN - Iran blames the failure of Syria peace talks on the participation of "terrorists", state media said Wednesday ahead of an international meeting to try to get the process back on track.

"What created problems at the recent Syria meeting in Geneva was not having differentiated between the opposition and terrorists," Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura by telephone, according to state broadcaster IRIB.

The presence of "certain terrorists" was "not constructive", he was quoted as saying.

Iran openly gives financial and military support to the regime of its close ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which objects to the inclusion in peace talks of Islamist rebels whom it brands "terrorists".

De Mistura last week suspended Syria peace talks as the regime pressed an offensive backed by Russian air strikes in the northern province of Aleppo that has sent tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing towards the Turkish border.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to attend a 17-nation meeting in Munich on Thursday that aims to pressure rival sides to return to the negotiating table, Iranian media reported.