UN Meeting on Afghanistan Will Include Iran

Decision to attend may indicate US overtures to Tehran are working
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2009 7:55 AM CDT
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani speaks to reporters, downplaying Barack Obama's recent videotaped overture to Iran.   (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)
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(Newser) – Iran plans to attend a US-initiated UN conference on the situation in Afghanistan, Reuters reports. A foreign ministry rep said Tehran hasn't decided who to send; other attendees include Ban Ki-Moon and Hillary Clinton. “Iran will participate,” the spokesman said. “The level of participation is not clear.” Iran will advocate a regional approach to the crisis; it has said in the past it would like to help stabilize its neighbor.

Iran will be just one of more than 80 nations at the summit, but its participation is significant given the Obama administration’s eagerness to defrost relations with Tehran. Clinton specifically mentioned Iran’s invitation earlier this month. Iran has often called for US forces to leave the region, however, saying their presence made the situation worse.