Russia had been pushing for Iran’s inclusion in the talks for months, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered the last second invitation more or less out of the blue yesterday, leading to furious US State Department reactions and a threat from what few Syria rebels were planning to attend in the first place to withdraw if Iran wasn’t uninvited by 2 pm today.
The UN, apparently unwilling to live with the egg that’s plainly on their face after the past 24 hours, followed up their uninvitation with an feigned condemnation of Iran for refusing to endorse the US calls for regime change in Syria.
Iran had never suggested they were going to accept the US calls in the first place, and that was a chief reason the US opposed their invitation, insisting that the only people who could attend the talks were those who had accepted regime change as the goal, and also the Syrian government itself and Russia, who both oppose the plan. The US cheered their disinvitation as a chance to get the talks “back on track,” by which they mean centered on regime change.
It isn’t clear if the UN met the 2 pm deadline imposed by the rebels, though the SNC still says they intend to attend the talks with Iran out of the picture. The talks are not expected to accomplish much of anything, with the US and friends insisting the goal is regime change and the Assad government suggesting that maybe the growing takeover of al-Qaeda was also worth discussing.