Russia: UN uninviting Iran a mistake, not catastrophe

The United Nations secretary general has withdrawn his invitation to Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks, saying he is "deeply disappointed" by Iran's statements Monday.

Main Western-backed Syrian opposition group will attend peace talks in Geneva

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the UN's decision to rescind Iran's invitation to join this week's Syria peace talks is not a catastrophe. (Ivan Sekretarev/The Associated Press)

Russia's foreign minister says that the United Nation decision to rescind the invitation to Iran to join this week's Syria peace talks was a mistake but not a catastrophe.

Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's decision to withdraw his last-minute offer to Iran to attend the conference would have a negative impact on the United Nations image.

Lavrov, speaking at a news conference, reaffirmed Russia's argument that the presence of Iran was essential for the success of the conference that is set to begin Wednesday in the Swiss resort of Montreux.

Iran has been the main regional ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, supporting his regime with advisers, money and materiel since the uprising began in 2011.