Iran is trying its hand at ad hoc multilateralism on the Syria crisis. More than a dozen countries will be participating in a conference today in Tehran. Via Reuters:
At least 12 nations with "a correct and realistic position" would attend a meeting on Thursday in Tehran to discuss the conflict, a senior Iranian diplomat said this week, indicating that no nation that backs the opposition and calls for Assad to leave power would be present.
Russia - which along with Iran has strongly supported Assad since the crisis erupted 17 months ago - has said it will attend the meeting at ambassadorial level but it was unclear which other key players would be present.
Iranian media has reported that China would also be present, along with Algeria, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Pakistan, India and six members of the Arab League but there was no independent confirmation.
Its image as a "rogue" state notwithstanding, I've often heard from sources that the Iranian diplomatic service is highly competent. This conference has been billed as a foreign-ministers level meeting, but it appears that several countries will send ambassadors only and that other invitees won't participate at all. Even able diplomats may not be able to turn this event into anything more than a mediocre photo op.
David Bosco reports on the new world order for The Multilateralist.