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Russia criticizes rescinding of invitation to Iran to attend Syria peace talks

By Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 3:09 AM EST, Tue January 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • But Lavrov said un-inviting Iran is not a catastrophe
  • Iran had already announced that it was not coming

(CNN) -- It was a mistake for the United Nations to rescind an invitation to Iran to participate in peace talks on Syria this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in Moscow.

He added however that it is "not a catastrophe."

Lavrov said U.N. members supporting regime change in Syria had forced the U.N. to un-invite Tehran to the talks in Geneva.

Iran had already announced Monday that it won't be attending the international peace conference, because it won't embrace the framework laid out in a previous conference.

The last-minute invitation to Iran, a leading Syrian ally, had threatened to derail the talks after the leading Syrian opposition group and the United States spoke out against it.

Louay Safi, a spokesman for the Syrian National Coalition, called Iran's attendance "a deal-breaker."

CNN's Christine Theodorou contributed to this report.

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