Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi claimed on Thursday that a major part of the Syrian opposition is willing to have dialogue with the government led by President Bashar al-Assad. He was speaking to media persons after a 29-nation conference on Syrian crisis ended in Tehran. The conference continued for more than four hours and the participants decided to bring the government and opposition groups close for dialogue. For the last couple of months, Iran has been trying to bring Syrian opposition groups to the negotiating table with Assad, but has not succeeded so far.
The foreign minister even said that a faction of opposition groups is ready to have dialogue with the government in Tehran without any preconditions. However, no opposition group has confirmed the claim. He also briefed the media persons about the discussion and informed them on how Iran plans to push the government for meaningful dialogue with the rebels. In different parts of the volatile country, security forces loyal to the regime and armed rebels stand face to face and dozens of casualties have been reported so far in the armed conflict between both of them.
The conference was attended by ambassadors of different countries residing in Tehran. Different proposals were exchanged during the discussion on how to restore normalcy and peace in the violence-wracked country. Almost all the likeminded countries participated in Tehran conference including Russia, China, Cuba, Iraq and Venezuela. Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, India and Afghanistan also attended the conference and gave their input to bring peace and stability in Syria. However, it is interesting to note that no country demanded resignation of President Bashar al-Assad for gross violations of human rights and killing thousands of innocent civilians.
A number of countries that have demanded resignation of Assad were not invited to the conference. Also, the countries deemed to be against Assad's regime were criticized during the conference. Iran believes that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, United States and its European allies have been lending financial and moral support to the rebels and therefore these countries were not asked for their views on the situation in Syria.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been vociferous in arming the Syrian rebels so that they could effectively fight with security forces loyal to the brutal regime. However, the United States and its allies have not approved the idea so far.
Iran even hinted on continuing support for the regime and help the president to implement the announced reforms. Some discerning observers believe that Iran is trying to buy time for Assad's regime through such tactics of dialogue between the government and opposition groups. Iranian foreign minister even warned the West and United States after the meeting that they should abstain from abetting Syrian rebels.