The meeting included Russia, China, Cuba, Iraq and Venezuela, all allies of Iran, but it excluded the United States, its European counterparts, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Also present were
During the talks
Iran 's foreign minister insisted the Assad administration would not collapse under pressure from abroad. The Iranian state broadcaster announced those present at the conference back the call for a three-month truce.
"A major part of the opposition has announced that it is ready to negotiate with the Syrian government in
Tehran without any preconditions," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.
There was, however, no confirmation of this from the Syrian opposition, which, like the government, did not attend the conference.
"It will be a mistake to think that with the continuation of pressure and unwise moves, the Syrian leadership would finally collapse," Salehi said, calling on nations not present in
Tehran that had previously sought to bring an end to the conflict through sanctions and UN resolutions to not meddle in Syrian affairs. "With such interference, they are worsening the crisis."
'Bad for the region'
With most countries represented only by their ambassadors - and most Western and Middle Eastern states that favor Assad's stepping down uninvited or declining to attend - analysts saw little impact from the meeting on the continuing violence.
Syrien Bürgerkrieg FSA Kämpfer in Aleppo
"There is vast evidence that demonstrates that
Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Susan Rice, the
US ambassador to the United Nations, took that a step further in an interview with NBC television, accusing
Iran of playing a "nefarious" role in the Syrian conflict and saying its "axis of resistance" is "bad for the region." She also said that in
Syria "momentum is shifting clearly in favor of the opposition."
United States and
Russia , in particular, differ on how to tackle the Syrian conflict, stalling any UN action.
Beijing have vetoed three attempts within the UN Security Council to sanction Syrian President Assad's regime.
Iran has strongly supported Assad, whose forces have launched crushing operations against anti-government protesters and opposition groups since the conflict erupted 17 months ago.
Iran has resisted an agreement on
Syria that requires Assad to quit as part of any political transition.
There is no sign that
Iran is ready to adopt a new approach, despite setbacks for Assad that include this week's defection of his prime minister.
Iran 's approach has soured its relations with neighboring
Turkey , which has hosted opposition meetings, extended assistance to Syrian refugees and demanded Assad leave office.
Present at the meeting was the United Nations resident coordinator to
Tehran , Consuelo Vidal-Bruce, who read out a statement from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that rebuked both
Syria 's government and the opposition for attempting to win through violence.
"There will be no winner in
Syria ," the statement read. "Now, we face the grim possibility of long-term civil war destroying
Syria 's rich tapestry of interwoven communities. We cannot let this prediction come true."
mkg/jlw (AFP, Reuters)