Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said today in Tehran that Iran is ready to start dialogue with the Syrian opposition and to host talks between the opposition groups and the Syrian government in an effort to bring an end to the conflict in the country. (Fars News Agency, 15 July)
Salehi’s remarks represent a major shift in Iran’s policies toward Assad and the deepening crisis in Syria. Until now, Iran viewed the opposition groups as terrorists bent on destroying their country at the behest of the Western powers. But recognizing the legitimacy of the opposition and their place in a transition government of national unity could indeed be a major boost to attempts at ending the crisis.