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Iran 'Supports' Assad's Peace Plan

RIA Novosti

13:36 07/01/2013

TEHRAN, January 7 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's new peace initiative, rejected by the Syrian opposition and the West, the Foreign Ministery said on Monday.

On Sunday, Assad gave a speech proposing a plan to resolve the country's crisis which includes a national reconciliation conference, the formation of a new government and an amnesty.

'Assad initiative includes solutions which stress end of violation and foreign interference in the country and describes a comprehensive political process which guarantees the presence of all voices in power based on the country's national charter," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement on his ministry website noting that Tehran "supports" the plan.

Iran has been a solid regional ally of Assad during the 21-month conflict in Syria that has claimed more than 60,000 lives, according to the United Nations.

In his rare televised speech, which was met with cheering applause by his supporters, Assad denounced the opposition as 'puppets of the West' and said Syria wanted to negotiate with the 'master not the servants.' He said the reconciliation conference would exclude 'those who have betrayed Syria.'

The peace initiative has been dismissed by the United States and the Syrian National Coalition.

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