Iran to attend next round of Syria talks

Khamenei adviser confirms Iran will attend the next round of peace talks on Syria.

Ben Ariel ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran will attend the next round of peace talks on Syria, a top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on the weekend, according to the Reuters news agency.

Iran had earlier threatened to withdraw from the process, the news agency noted.

World and regional powers, including Iran, met in Vienna on October 30 to discuss a political solution to Syria's civil war, but could not reach an agreement about President Bashar Al-Assad’s fate.

Days later, Iran threatened to pull out of the next round of talks, blaming the "negative role" played by regional rival Saudi Arabia", according to Reuters.

But Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei's top foreign policy adviser, said Iran will be "actively present in (Syria peace) talks, while announcing its standards and preserving its red lines."

"We will support our ally, Syria, not only in defense field, but also in political arena," he added. 

Iran is a key ally of Assad, standing by him since an uprising against his regime broke out in 2011.

The Islamic Republic provides Assad with financial aid and military advisors. Near the start of the war, it was reported that former President Mahmouad Ahmadinejad had personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops, but Iran denies it has any fighters on the ground in Syria.

Diplomats have said the next round of international talks is likely to begin later this week.

Khamenei last week dismissed the chances of foreign countries bartering a deal over Syria's future, suggesting they should focus on securing a halt to fighting that allows fresh elections.