Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (Image source: AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition group to President Bashar al-Assad's regime, is threatening to not attend international peace talks scheduled this week unless United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon retracts an invitation to Iran, Reuters reported.
Ban said he'd invited Iran to the first day of talks January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland, adding that Tehran had pledged to play a "positive and constructive role" if asked to participate, Reuters noted.
Wednesday's foreign ministers meeting precedes talks scheduled to begin Friday between Assad's delegation and Syrian opposition groups at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva.
Meanwhile the U.S. State Department said it remains "deeply concerned" about Iran's support of Assad's regime, even after the U.N. invited Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend the peace talks.
Ban says Iran has agreed to endorse the principles in the so-called "Geneva communique."
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.N. invitation "must be rescinded" if Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique. She added that Iran must agree to principles established in an earlier peace conference, which include the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria.