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Friday, 10 August 2012 - 8:02
Iran urges dialogue to halt Syria bloodshed
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Iran appealed to Syria's government and armed opposition to open peace talks as it hosted a hastily arranged international conference on the conflict in its key Arab ally.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told diplomats from Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations that Tehran was prepared to also host such a dialogue.

He said Iran opposes "any foreign interference and military intervention in resolving the Syrian crisis" and supports UN efforts to end the bloodshed.

There was no indication Iran was modifying its strong support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have been locked in an escalating war with rebels since an uprising against his rule started in March 2011.

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