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Iran Offers To Mediate Syrian Conflict, Present UN Peace Plan

  • RFE/RL

Iranian leaders on August 5 offered to help mediate the conflict in Syria and said they would soon present a Syrian peace plan to the United Nations.

"We will do everything in our power politically so that peace and stability return to Syria," said Iranian President Hassan Rohani during a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem in Tehran.

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said a peace plan will be presented to the UN after it is agreed to by the Iranian and Syrian governments. The plan is expected to build on a four-point initiative Iran presented to the UN last year.

Representatives of Syria, Iran, and Russia have been meeting since August 4 to try to find diplomatic solutions to the
conflict.

Iran and Russia are among the last allies of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran has warned repeatedly that a collapse of the government in Damascus would clear the way for the Islamic State and other militant groups.

Rohani said Iran wants to collaborate in the fight against IS, according to the website of the president's office.

The site said Rohani called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to advise him to join forces with Tehran so they can fight more effectively against IS.

"The dangerous situation in the region makes necessary a closer cooperation," Rohani said.

The president suggested Turkey notify Syria and Iraq before attacking IS targets in those countries. Otherwise, he said, "one
problem is solved but afterward there is another larger one."

The Moscow newspaper Kommersant said Russia is striving for a new international coalition against IS. The newspaper said a
plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin would form a coalition of like-minded participants from the Syrian and the Iraqi armies as well as Kurds and neighboring countries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry August 5 that they do not as yet agree on a common approach to fighting IS, but they will work toward finding one.

"We all agree that Islamic State is the common threat, common evil. We agree that we need to join efforts to fight this phenomenon as soon and as effectively as possible," Lavrov said on Russian state TV from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the two foreign ministers were attending a conference.

"For now we don't have a joint approach on how specifically we can do it, given the stand-off between various players on the ground, including armed units of the Syrian opposition," Lavrov said.

A Western diplomat in Moscow was skeptical that the Russian diplomatic initiative will bear fruit.

"This is another push in Russia's campaign to legitimize Assad in the eyes of the international community, using the threat of the Islamic State," the diplomat said.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AP
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