United Nations chief invites Iran to Syria peace talks

Jan 19, 2014, 11:17 PM EST
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the media at an end-of-year press conference on December 16, 2013 at UN headquarters in New York City.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has invited Iran to take part in preliminary Syrian peace talks this week in Switzerland, an offer Tehran has accepted. Mr. Ban said he had received assurances that Iran would play a positive role in securing a transitional government. But Syria's main opposition group said it would withdraw from the talks unless Mr. Ban retracted the offer to Iran.
U.N. invites Iran to Syria talks, surprising American officials [NYT]
Syria talks face immediate hurdle of Assad's refusal to step down [The Guardian]
In Syria, few conciliatory signs as peace talks loom [BBC]