Iran opened a Syrian National Dialogue today in Tehran, hosting talks based on the motto “No to violence, yes to democracy!”.
Topics on the opening day included “Opposition to Foreign intervention”, “Opposing any plans to arm the opposition” and “Emphasis on dialogue between the government and the opposition.”
The Islamic Republic authorities say the talks are being attended by representatives from a wide spectrum of the Syrian opposition “who have real popular bases amongst the Syrian population” as well as representatives from the Syrian government.
However, it appears that none of the opposition groups that gathered in Doha, Qatar last week is present in Tehran.
In Doha, a number of opposition groups established the National Opposition and Syrian Revolution Coalition, which agreed on “Opposition to dialogue with the Syrian government” and “Request to arm the opposition.” This coalition has been recognized as the “sole legal representative of the Syrian people” by the majority of Arab League Members and the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as France and Turkey.
The Mehr News Agency reported that “political figures from various parties including the Social Democratic Party, Syrian Democratic Party, Secular Democratic Party, Independent Youth Association, Kurds National Party, National Salvation Front, National Unity Victory Association and dozens of other parties and groups are amongst those present in the Syria National Dialogue in Tehran.”
None of these groups participated in the Syrian National Coalition in Doha.
A number of representatives of the Syrian government, including Minister of National Reconciliation Heydar Ali, are also attending the meeting in Tehran, along with political figures from Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Russia and China.
Russia and China have opposed the decision reached at the Doha gathering and have opposed any international attempt to arm the Syrian opposition.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the Tehran gathering, calling it “a firm response against any interventionist plans by foreigners” for Syria.
Salehi stressed that Iran supports diplomatic and peaceful forms of resolving the Syrian crisis, thus the attempt to open up dialogue with this meeting in Tehran.
Similar statements were made by Chinese and Russian foreign ministers through their ambassadors in Tehran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke out against the UN Security Council for failing to condemn what he referred to as “terrorist attacks by armed Syrian opposition forces.”