US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at United Nations headquarters, Sept. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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Iran will take part in international talks on Syria for the first time this week, giving it a voice in the effort to find a resolution to the nearly 5-year-old civil war that has so far defied even the slightest progress toward peace.A crucial backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Tehran has been shunned from all previous talks on Syria. News of Iran's attendance outraged Syrian rebels, who said its participation will only prolong the conflict. Saudi Arabia said it aimed to gauge during the talks the willingness of Iran and Russia, the main backers of Assad and his government, for a peace deal, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Wednesday. Iran says it supports a political solution in Syria, but says Assad should be part of the process.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who will take part in the talks, welcomed Iran's participation.
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