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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Iranian dilemma

Iran's invitation to join the Syria peace talks has been withdrawn, yet the country is a crucial partner for finding a solution, the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung points out, explaining how this poses a dilemma for the Syria conference: "So far the Iranians haven't been willing to accept the premise for the conference that was stipulated in a communiqué in 2012: its goal is the formation of a transitional governing body made up of both regime and opposition forces. The Iranians haven't fared too badly with this stance up to now because the situation in Syria has changed in Assad's favour, and therefore also in their favour. There is no longer any talk of Assad stepping down, he has consolidated his rule over certain parts of the country. The military opposition, by contrast, has split into two groups that are fighting each other. Why should Iran deviate from its chosen course now? The Western sponsors of the conference, particularly the Americans, are facing two unpleasant options: an Iranian regime that boycotts the negotiations as an outsider or an Iranian regime that sabotages any solutions as a participant in the conference."

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