US grants Iran a seat at the next round of Geneva II conference on Syria – alongside big powers


The second round of the Geneva II conference on the Syrian conflict opens Monday, Feb. 10 – this time with a seat at the table for the Iranian delegation provided by Washington, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Washington relayed this abrupt turnabout from its ban last week on Iranian representatives to the Tehran delegates quietly attending the secret alternative conference taking place unannounced in Bern. This event has proceeded in parallel to the public gathering in Montreux with the participation of Assad regime and opposition delegates, as well as senior US, Iranian and Russian officials. It was there that the real business was contracted behind closed doors – not in Montreux, where rigid official positions were presented for public consumption as a decoy from the Bern meeting, for which the Swiss government rather than the UN had provided the necessary technical and logistic facilities. The Bern channel was first revealed in the last DEBKA Weekly issue, No. 621 of Jan. 31. Permission to admit Iran to the Bern parley marked another major Obama administration concession to Tehran. For the first time, Iran delegates took their seats around an international conference table alongside the major powers with a say on political and strategic decisions for a critical Mid East conflict. This basic shift was evinced, according to our sources, Tuesday, Feb. 4 in Washington and in Moscow. More

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon on Sunday, January 12, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Bilal Hussein)Iran: US ‘wishes won’t come true’ at nuclear talks – Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Washington’s “wishes are unlikely to come true” in talks between the Islamic Republic and world powers over its nuclear program, the government’s latest apparent attempt to deflect criticism from hard-line skeptics who say that President Hassan Rouhani will give up too much for too little in upcoming negotiations over a final comprehensive deal. Mohammad Javad Zarif indicated the U.S. wanted Iran to give up major parts of its nuclear program but said such demands won’t be carried out“America has wishes and those wishes are unlikely to come true and that’s why they are negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve a solution based on realities,” he told a news conference in Tehran. More
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