By Kyle Balluck - 01/19/14 09:07 PM EST
The State Department late Sunday described as conditional the United Nations’ invitation to Iran to attend peace talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime later this month.
“We also remain deeply concerned about Iran's contributions to the Assad regime's brutal campaign against its own people, which has contributed to the growth of extremism and instability in the region,” Psaki said. “If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communique, the invitation must be rescinded.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told reporters on Sunday that Iran was invited after Foreign Minister Javid Zarif "pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux," according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration spelled out its conditions for Iran to play a role in the talks after Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryAn all-female ticket? Not in 2016 GOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid Obamas to live in home of former Clinton press secretary: report MORE opened the door for Tehran’s participation.
Iran would first have to lean on Bashar Assad's regime to cease bombing rebel-held civilian areas and allow humanitarian aid to reach them, a U.S. official told Reuters.
Kerry had suggested that Iran could be allowed to participate in peace talks. The U.S. and some of its allies have so far opposed Iran's participation because of its support for Assad, while Russia and the U.N.'s special envoy for Syria argue that Iran has a major role to play in helping end the conflict that has been raging since March, 2011.