Welcoming Iran’s inclusion in the upcoming diplomatic talks on Syria, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told FRANCE 24 in an exclusive interview Wednesday that engagement with Tehran was critical to finding a political solution to the crisis.
Speaking to FRANCE 24 hours after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif confirmed he would be attending Friday’s talks in Vienna, Blinken said he hoped Iran was prepared to play “a positive role in supporting a political transition in Syria.” But, he added, “We don’t yet know the answer to that.”
Blinken stressed that the diplomatic mission to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict was picking up speed.
Nearly four weeks after Russia launched a military operation in Syria, Blinken said Moscow’s intervention was not going particularly well and that has provided the international community an incentive to push for a political transition in Syria.
"Russia now has an incentive and more influence to move [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad and the regime towards a transition,” said Blinken. “There is a recognition on all sides that there is no military solution in Syria, that is a recognition that is now growing on the Russians."
Friday’s meeting in Vienna will come exactly a week after top diplomats from the US, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia met in the Austrian capital to try to agree to a political transition process in Syria. The second round of the Vienna talks will include approximately a dozen participants including Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, France and other European Union countries.