On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon withdrew his invitation for Iran to join peace talks over Syria, stating he was “deeply disappointed” by Iran’s refusal to accept the Geneva 2012 roadmap, which would require Iran to withdraw “troops and militias” from Syria. The Geneva roadmap would similarly institute a transitional government that would be jointly administered by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and the opposition in Syria.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said, “The statement today in Tehran by the foreign ministry spokesperson fell short by some measure of what the secretary-general expected to hear.”
The UN announcement followed pressure from the United States to withdraw the invitation to Iran, with the US stating it was surprised by the invitation in the first place. Saudi Arabia had similarly threatened to withdraw from talks if Iran received an invitation. On Monday, a State Department official stated, “Since Iran has not publicly and fully endorsed the Geneva communiqué, we expect the invitation will be rescinded.”
Russia opposed the UN’s decision, calling the withdrawal an “unforgivable mistake.” Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov explained, “Negotiations involve sitting at the table not just with those who you like, but with those whose participation the solution depends on.”