Monday, January 20, 2014

UN Statement on Revoking Invitation to Iran for Geneva II

The United Nations today revoked its invitation to Iran to attend the Geneva II conference on Syria. The following are statements by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations on today’s developments:

“In that spirit, in a series of meetings and telephone conversations, senior Iranian officials assured the Secretary-General that Iran understood and supported the basis and goal of the Conference, including the Geneva Communiqué.  The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment.  He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communiqué.  Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation.

The Secretary-General looks forward to joining the initiating parties -- the Russian Federation and the United States -- as well as the other States and organizations that will attend this long-awaited and hugely important push for peace.  The Syrian parties, the region and the international community have an opportunity and a responsibility to end the violence and begin a transition towards a new Syria.”

The UN News Center also reported that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had invited Iran to attend Geneva II after Foreign minister Javad Zarif “assured” him that Iran understands that the basis of talks is “full implementation of an action plan adopted in the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 (Geneva I).” (UN News Center, 20 January)

Earlier, the Iranian ambassador to the UN had issued a statement announcing that Iran would not attend Geneva II if required to accept Geneva I communiqué. Soon after the statement, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon withdrew his invitation to Iran.

File Photo: Flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran (center) at UN Headquarters. ( 


Mark Pyruz said...

Really, this is a Ban failure. His invitation appears to have caught the Syrian exile groups and US State Department by surprise.

And it's a bit disingenuous for Ban to claim a "global consensus" on the Geneva communique when the United States and Russia disagree as to the nature of its terms and intention toward Assad and his government.

Nader Uskowi said...

Ban did not have to invite Iran. He probably believed that Zarif had accepted the Geneva I communiqué. No reason for him not to tell the truth (he didn’t have to invite Iran to begin with).

Was Zarif not telling the truth to Ban? Probably not. Zarif could have expected the support of Khamenei and the right as was the case with nuclear agreement in Geneva. He was probably as surprised at the negative and strong reaction of the hard right.

Anonymous said...

Nader UskowiJanuary 20, 2014 at 10:10 PM
But since he did invite them to then turn around and rescind it shows real gutlessness on his part,of course I think everyone knew he was a gutless little toady right from the get go but this just proves it beyond any doubt,also the idea that anything of value could be achieved without iranian participation is laughable

Anonymous said...

it's always somebody else's fault according to fanboys.

Iran's double-speak is deliberate and a matter of policy. somebody sounds reasonable in private but private assurances turn out to be worthless as they are publicly disavowed by somebody else.

Iran's lousy government keeps making it clearer and clearer that if it isn't on paper and signed, their words are worthless bits of butt gas.

Ban won't forget that he was taken in by the Iranians and publicly made to look foolish.

if things get worse for Iran, it just might be because the Iranian people were ill-served by the theocracy..... and screw the fanboys who still will be pretending that it's someone else's fault.

the fanboys won't be the ones do the suffering and the maybe the bleeding.

Anonymous said...


I agree with Mark that this is a terrible “failure” for Ban. He was caught between pressures from the Russians who were insisting that for any meaningful negotiation “Iran should be there” and the Americans who had been insisting the Iran must endorse Geneva I, something Zarif had said publicly in more than one occasion that Iran would not accept “preconditions”. According to Washington Post, “ … Under intense American pressure, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rescinded the invitation to Iran “… and that “Secretary of State John F. Kerry personally lobbied Ban to rescind the invitation, and U.S. officials suggested that Washington would pull out if Iran was there …” Clearly, Ban had misread the extent of American pressure and before succumbing to the Russian pressures !
G.A. in MD

Anonymous said...

I was intended to be a hit & run tactic upon Iran to trick it into accepting The Geneva 1 accord, which was stupid to begin with and it was certainly masterminded by some Amateur US strategist, without getting involved.

A typical screwing others with somebody else did... (in this case UN)..

But Iran as always saw through it and torpedoed it and thus this Mickey Mouse gatherings shall continue for another few years, until like in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran is begged to help.

Iran should let the dice roll as always.. It can only be to its benefit.

Azari by Fortune and Iranian by Grace of God
Dariush London

Mark Pyruz said...

Speculation, Nader.

Nader, what we know is:

a) the Syrian exile groups would not participate with Iran invited.

b) our American State Department would not allow Iran's invitation without explicit Iranian endorsement of the American position that "transition government" in the communique means Assad's involvement in Syria's government is terminated.

Whether Zarif and Ban had reached an agreement on language acceptable to both is rendered moot, given the above.

Big loser is Ban for sticking his neck out so far and inviting Iran in the first place, no matter how much sense it makes in the first place to do so..

Anonymous said...

Amazing how some people here acts as apologists to Takfiri/Wahhabi idiots who call themselves "Syrian opposition".

Their hatred for IRI makes them support any organization that they see as a counter to IRI - in this case, Wahhabi/Takfiri/Al-Qaeda groups are re-branded as peaceful protesters and "moderate" Islamist etc etc.

The uprising in Syria WAN NOT peaceful from day 1. Many evidence have surfaced showing "peaceful protesters" carrying weapons and deliberately shooting security officials and innocent civilians and then blaming the government.They've even staged many massacres to justify foreign intervention but with no success.

Amazing how some people here are willing to overlook these things due to pure hatred of IRI and Assad.

What a sad state of affairs!!

Anonymous said...

The fact is, that the terms that the US and the SNC are expecting Iran to accept as a precondition for validating its participation is a non-viable basis for them in joining them to begin with. Notwithstanding the legitimacy of expecting Assad's departure as a natural implication of any post-civil war political outcome, asking its main and unconditional regional ally to suddenly drop all of its support overnight in an official capacity, perform such a geopolitical U-turn, and openly join western-funded opposing forces in calling for a de-facto end to his personal presence in the country's leadership is somewhat irrational. Expecting Iran to drop support for its only real Arab regional ally is like expecting the US into joining an official UN panel calling for the transitional departure of the Al-Khalyfa family while it is instead furnishing whatever is needed for the latter to suppress dissent in a violent and highly abusive, human-rights violating fashion for years now and hasn't even mentioned the country as troubled horizons in their leaders' countless speeches for Peace in the world since the very onset of the Arab Revolutions - it simply won't happen, the USN's continued presence in the 5th Fleet base is more important than philanthropy.

This in turn is a remarkable reminder of how irrelevant the notions of true justice have become within the spectrum of countries' calculations in apprehending global issues, would it be in Bahrain or Syria. Their official display of concerns and systematic posturing as responsibility holders towards the defense of basic human rights, and subsequent alignment with the SNC's demands indeed isn't the fruit of their love for the Syrian people's aspiration for democracy and freedom whatsoever, it is rather once more, as usual, another iteration of them siding with the most internationally "acceptable" elements standing against their regional enemy of the day against which where they still contemplate a resemblance of hope in achieving at least part of their initial goals.

Iran's stance was foreseeable, being one of the the few solid core policies still making consensus among all governing political powers co-existing in Iran today, ranging from Zarif to the IRGC and Khamenei. It can be compared to the 5% enrichment right or their stance towards Israel in that regard, one cannot decently expect internal debate or margin for maneuver when it comes to such unifying subjects for the regime. Add to that the concrete situation on the ground, which on a pure military standing currently constitutes nothing but a completely cataclysmic failure of the "moderate" fringe of the Syrian opposition which is indeed withdrawing and collapsing on every front one after the other, would it be at the hands of ISIL fighters or the regular army.

Thus, I personally think that America's stance on Iran is unrealistic and mostly motivated in keeping the biggest possible number of pawns it still controls on the Syrian chessboard, while at the same time trying to posture as a fair and balanced mediator in solving the bloody civil war in the eyes of the international community rather than appearing as an openly biased actor seeking its own endgame in the conflict's resolution, and that didn't go unoticed in the eyes of minister Lavrov :

In contrast, Ban's repeated, genuine attempts in inviting Tehran while going past the hurdles of mere language and relying on a much more logical, pragmatic and fair approach in solving the Syrian dispute in the fastest fashion as possible and this with maximum efficiency through putting together the broadest possible congregation of regional actors with minimum political consideration, makes him one of the few selfless protagonists of the whole geopolitical tragedy costing the lives of thousands of ordinary Syrians a month nowadays, and testimony to the urgency he rightfully associates with the need to solve the ongoing mayhem ...


Nader Uskowi said...


Your assertion that Ban required Zarif to accept that transition government in the communiqué meant the end of Assad is not supported by facts. The Iranian ambassador to the UN and Ban has both confirmed that what was required was the acceptance of the communiqué itself, which does not mention Assad. It only states that the formation of a transition government acceptable to all sides would be the goal. Ambassador Khazaee said so in his announcement: that Iran will not participate in Geneva II if required to accept Geneva I communiqué.

BTW, the Geneva I communiqué was accepted by Russia, one of Assad’s biggest supporters. In fact the Geneva I conference was co-sponsored by Russia.

Nader Uskowi said...

The reality is that Ban wanted to invite Iran and he did so. When we first announced that, no one said Ban was under someone’s pressure to do so; it was correctly attributed to a correct stand that recognized the importance of Iran’s contribution to the success of Geneva II. But Ban, as he is now saying, had hours of discussion with Zarif, and came out of those talks believing that Zarif had accepted the Geneva I communiqué. This is not an assertion; this is what Ban said on Monday.

We have Zarif’s acceptance of Geneva I communiqué on Sunday night and Ambassador Khazaee’s rejection of it on Monday afternoon. Something happened. My assertion here is the hard right in Tehran resisted the acceptance of Geneva I communiqué and Zarif had to back off.

Please note that Russia was a co-author of Geneva I communiqué and a co-sponsor of the conference. Iran could have accepted the communiqué the same way as Russia did: it left the composition of the transition government open.

Now without the participation of Iran, the chances of any success of Geneva II, if there were any even with Iranian participation, have diminished considerably

Anonymous said...

Actually Russia itself is adament that Iran's stance was like its own on the issue, despite the fact that the criteria for its adherence were unilaterally changed and specifically hardnened in an inherently unacceptable manner for the IRI at the last minute . From the article linked above :

"Lavrov said he believed the reasoning behind Ban’s decision is erroneous. He pointed out that the demand that Iran committed to the communiqué was actually a demand to commit to a false interpretation, which claims that the document provides for a regime change in Syria. The actual document contains no such provision, the Russian minister said.Iran’s rejection of the false interpretation is not unlike Russia’s own position on the issue. Russia insists that the Geneva communiqué at the end of the day aims to bring the Syrian government and opposition to talk directly to each other and decide their country’s future, which would involve territorial integrity, rejection of terrorism and protection of minorities, and nothing beyond that. If the approach taken towards Iran were applied to Russia, it would not be invited either. Lavrov pointed out."

I think that is some fundamental insight coming from Moscow.

Nader Uskowi said...

Ban was the one who invited Iran. Why don't we go by what Ban says what the invitation required: Acceptance that the goal of conference is to work for establishing a transition government acceptable to all sides. No more, no less. Russia accepts that formula, it is a co-author of it, and Russia is a big supporter of Assad. Iran should have accepted it as well, the same way as Russians.

The argument that Iran had to commit to Assad's removal before attending the conference is not what Ban was proposing. Please read his statement posted on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I agree that pressure from harline individuals within Majlis and even outside must have had some degree of influence on on Araghchi's ultimate, critical declaration that ultimately botched Ban's invitation to the conference. Besides, if it happens to genuinely be some calculation by Iran to somehow gain something by staying aside the upcoming negotiations for whatever it's worth, then I also concede it is a bad move. I still do not understand Lavrov's statement considering what actually happened though.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous January 21, 2014 at 6:39 AM, an excellent point. It is another example of the fundamental dishonesty and double standards of the so-called "opposition" not only to Syria but, Iran as well. They openly and unashamedly, support religious extremist terrorists.