Iran says it is joining Syria crisis meeting in Cairo


Saeed Jalili, head of Iran's supreme national defence council, holds a joint press conference with Iranian ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Sheibani (R) at the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus on August 7, 2012. Tehran will continue to back Syria under President Bashar al-Assad, which acts as a pillar of an Iranian-led regional alliance, Jalili told Assad in Damascus.



An Iranian delegrate has reportedly left Tehran for Cairo to join a regional meeting called for by Egypt's President Morsi during his recent visit to Tehran, where he weighed on the Islamic Republic to take part in the regional conference, reported Lebanon's Naharnet

Egyptian officials have not yet confirmed Iran's attendence or the exact scheduling of the four-nation "contact group" meeting there, according to Now Lebanon

More from GlobalPost: Iran says Syria UN peace envoy is planning trip to Tehran

"Iran's participation in this meeting is within the framework of solving the Syrian crisis and to listening to the Egyptian proposal," Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Iran's Al-Alam Arabic-language broadcaster, said Now Lebanon. "Iran will use this opportunity to provide its views, in addition to those of the other countries to this group."

Many Western countries have openly called on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power in the face of an armed rebellion against his rule, but international consensus on the issue has been frustrated by competing political agendas.

The other members of the group invited by Morsi are Saudi Arabia and Turkey, making Iran the only nation maintaining an openly pro-Assad position. 

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Saturday told the new international peavy envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, that Tehran is interested in helping Syria itself find a solution to the problem that does not involve outside intereference, said Kuwait News Agency.

Iran is a longstanding ally of the embattled Syrian leader and Tehran is accused of aiding regime forces there.

Brahimi, who was appointed to the position August 17, is in Cairo today as part of his first visit to the Middle East since taking on the mediating role. He may meet with officials in Tehran after his planned visit to Damascus. 

International efforts to end the conflict in Syria, where over a year of fighting has taken some 23,000 lives, fell apart with the resignation of former peace envoy Kofi Annan early last month.