U.S. sending mixed messages on Iran's role in Syrian peace talks
The United States told Agence France-Presse reporters Tuesday that Iran's involvement in Syrian peace talks scheduled to take place in Switzerland later this month should be scrutinized since Tehran is helping to "brutalize" Syria.
"At this point, Iran has done nothing but helped the regime, help bring foreign fighters in, help the regime's efforts to brutalize the Syrian people. If they wanted to send a message to the world about their seriousness of having a positive outcome, there are steps they could take. There's no indication that they have any desire or interest in taking any of these steps," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet in Paris on Jan. 13 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in order to discuss and determine whether Iran should participate in the Syrian peace conference.
UN leader Ban Ki-Moon has already bypassed Iran as a potential participant in the conference with his decision to forego sending Tehran an invitation to the conference earlier this month.
However, the U.S. renewed calls for Iran to participate earlier this week saying that Tehran would "support a process in which Assad would ultimately step down." However, the State Department's recent comments Tuesday suggest that such a stance is fluctuating.
Iran has been a major supporter of Assad's regime, in part due to their shared Shiite-affiliated leadership.