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Tense negotiations with Iran and Syria take center stage at Davos

by AirTalk®

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23, 2014. Some 40 world leaders gather in the Swiss ski resort Davos to discuss and debate a wide range of issues including the causes of conflicts plaguing the Middle East, and how to reinvigorate the global economy. ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday his country is ready to do business and honor a deal to curb its nuclear program, in a speech aimed at persuading world leaders of Tehran's willingness to engage the global community. Rouhani claimed the spotlight at the annual World Economic Forum as the event coincided with the lifting of some international sanctions on Iran and the country's exclusion from Syrian peace talks being held just a few hours' drive away.

Just a day ago, those peace talks got off to a bitter start when the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem blamed the conflict on rebels and scolded outsiders from interfering in the conflict. A clash between the US and Syria over President Bashar Assad's future threatened to collapse the negotiations even before they had begun.

The U.S. and the Syrian opposition opened the conference by saying that Assad lost his legitimacy when he crushed the once-peaceful protest movement against his regime. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Assad should not be part of discussions over Syria's future.Can the US make progress in nuclear negotiations with Iran? Will early disruptions between the US and the Syrian government derail negotiations?

With files from the Associated Press.


Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution



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