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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Must Participate in Syria Talks - Moscow

RIA Novosti

17:50 22/06/2012 ST. PETERSBURG, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow dismissed on Friday U.S. and British objections to Iran’s participation in an international conference on Syria.

“We are convinced that Iran should participate in that conference,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The United States and Britain claim that Iran cannot be invited because “it is misbehaving,” he said.

“When the Americans had to ensure additional security for their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan they had no problem talking directly to Iran,” Lavrov said, adding that it was crucial to prevent bloodshed in Syria by accepting the required makeup of conference participants.

An international conference on Syria is to be held in Geneva on June 30.

Russia has said the conference should include all the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria's neighbors (Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon), as well as key players in the region (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran) and international organizations (League of Arab States, European Union).

According to UN estimates, about 12,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Assad in March 2011.

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