For weeks, American officials have lobbied to exclude Iran from the Geneva talks on the Syrian conflict in late January, pointing to Tehran's military and financial aid to the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
But last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry did an about-face: Iran could take part in the conference on the sidelines, he said, a move that could bolster the importance of the talks.
Kerry's statement was dismissed by an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman who said that Iran "will not accept any proposal that does not respect its dignity."
Still, the comments could present an opening for Iranian officials who have long wanted the international community to acknowledge their role as a key regional power and have indicated that there will be no resolution to the conflict in Syria without their participation......
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