UN puts Syria talks in doubt with last-minute invite to Iran

UN puts Syria talks in doubt with last-minute invite to Iran

UNITED NATIONS/ANKARA (Reuters) – An unexpected last-minute U.N. invitation for Iran to a peace conference on Syria threw the talks into doubt on Monday, with Washington demanding Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdraw his offer and the Syrian opposition threatening to pull out.

Iran is the main foreign backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its presence has been one of the most contentious issues looming over the first talks to be attended by both Assad’s government and opponents.

The talks are set to start on Wednesday in Switzerland but diplomats said the entire conference was now in jeopardy.

“Is Geneva going to happen? That is the question we can’t answer at the moment,” a Western diplomat said.

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