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Published: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 2:35:56 AM
Updated: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 2:36:49 AM

Difficult to have Iran at Syria peace talks - U.S. official

GENEVA (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official said on Friday that it was "difficult to imagine" Iran attending Syrian peace talks next month as it had not endorsed the June 2012 communiqué calling for a transitional government and was providing military support to Damascus.

The official said talks would continue with mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and other states on Iran's participation in the peace talks, but there were many ways for Tehran to take part and this was only the beginning of the process.

"Iran in this instance is the only country that has put its own military people into the fight on the ground, that is a unique position," the senior U.S. official said.

"I would hope that Iran would think about withdrawing its fighters and its support and allowing the Syrian opposition and the regime to in fact construct a transitional government with full executive powers by mutual consent, as Lakhdar Brahimi said, a new Syria."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Tom Miles and Andrew Roche)

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