U.S. should heed Russia, include Iran in Syria talks

Barbara Slavin writes: After opposing the inclusion of Iran in negotiations over Syria for more than two years, the administration of US President Barack Obama may finally decide to change course.

Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing on Wednesday, May 15, at a press conference in Sweden with counterparts from Sweden and Russia, stood silently while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized the need to mobilize support for new peace talks “by all the Syrian groups, the regime and all opposition groups and second, by those outside actors who have influence on either one or the other Syrian group.”

On Thursday, Lavrov said that Iran is “a very important external player” that should not be barred from Syria negotiations because of Western “geopolitical preferences.”

The US has not yet announced who will be invited to the conference. However, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, pressed Thursday on whether Iran would be invited, waffled and told reporters, “We are not ruling [Iranian participation in peace talks] in or out.” [Continue reading…]

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