BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday that Tehran has yet to decide whether it will join another round of talks on the Syria crisis in Vienna due this week, Lebanese and Iranian media reported.
The last round of talks in Vienna on Oct. 30 between world powers and regional rivals involved in Syria’s four-year civil war resulted in calls for a nationwide ceasefire, but showed divisions remain between countries backing opposing sides over how to solve the conflict.
Lebanon’s al Mayadeen TV and Iranian state broadcaster IRIB cited Hossein Amir Abdollahian as saying Iran had not yet decided on participation in the next ministerial meeting.
It would depend on Washington’s “answers regarding some unilateral actions taken by some of the sides” attending the talks “without consulting others”, al Mayadeen said. It did not elaborate.
In a brief interview with Iranian state broadcaster IRIB, Abdollahian said the United States appeared to be taking “obstinate” actions in its diplomatic push on Syria.
Iranian Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would not be participating in the discussions himself, because he would be joining President Hassan Rouhani on a visit to France.
Abdollahian made the remarks on a visit to Beirut to meet Lebanese officials.
A top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted last week as saying Iran would attend the talks, but warned over unspecified “red lines”.
Tehran has warned it will quit Syria peace talks if it finds them unconstructive, citing what it calls the negative role of its regional rival Saudi Arabia.
Tensions between the two countries, which support opposing sides in Syria’s four-year civil war, have threatened to undermine the latest diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.
Riyadh is pushing the U.N. to condemn Iranian and Russian intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a move that has prompted complaints from the delegations of Iran and Syria.
Vienna is set to host a ministerial meeting of Russia, the United States and other major powers later this week, the second such talks since Oct. 30.
The last round failed to decide on the fate of Assad, a key difference between foreign powers involved in the conflict that has killed 250,000 people.
Reporting by Sylvia Westall, Mariam Karouny and John Davison; Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara and Sam Wilkins in Dubai; Editing by Richard Balmforth