Iran shifts on Syria

WASHINGTON — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at meetings in Oslo, Norway, this week, signaled that he has more authority on the Syria file than he has had until now, and that Iran may be prepared to show more flexibility to advance a political solution, sources who met with him there told Al-Monitor.

The apparent shift in Iran’s Syria policymaking comes as the Obama administration is facing internal criticism of its Syria policy, in the form of a dissent cable signed by some 50 State Department officers urging the United States to conduct airstrikes against the Assad regime in order to pressure it to make serious concessions at stalled political transition talks with the opposition in Geneva. The memo, first reported by The New York Times June 16, calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed US-led diplomatic process.” Continue reading