UN envoy turns to Iran for help
Iran looked upon to help with Syria crisis
International envoy Kofi Annan tried to rescue his peace plan for Syria by seeking help Monday from Iran, an ally and military backer of President Bashar Assad’s government.
Before flying to Tehran, Annan said he had agreed on a new approach with Assad to stop the violence, which activists say has killed more than 17,000 people since the conflict began in March 2011. The United Nations estimates that at least 10,000 people have been killed.
“Kofi thinks you can’t have a political transition and solution without the Iranians on board, but this is still part of the understanding that Assad and the regime will be part of the solution – an idea many of us have given up on,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center and an analyst on regional politics.
The United States has rejected Iranian participation in international meetings on the crisis in Syria.
After a two-hour meeting with Assad on Monday, Annan said the men had agreed on “an approach” to stop the violence, and that the diplomat would share it with the armed opposition.
“I also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue which the president accepts,” Annan said.
Annan then flew to Tehran to seek help from Iranian officials. Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency said he would meet with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and top security official Saeed Jalili.