Ban Ki-moon withdraws offer for Iran to join Syria peace talks

Jan 20, 2014 12:54 PM


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday rescinded an offer for Iran to attend Syria peace negotiations after Tehran said it didn't support the June 2012 political transition deal that is the basis for the talks.

In a brief statement by his spokesman — and under huge pressure from the U.S. — Ban withdrew the invitation, saying he was "deeply disappointed" by public statements today from Iran.

"He (Ban) continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva communiqué," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said. "Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, (Ban) has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran's participation."

Ban said earlier that Iran's public statement that it did not support the 2012 Geneva deal calling for a transitional government for Syria was "not consistent" with assurances he had been given by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

NBC News' Andrea Mitchell and Reuters contributed to this report


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