August 5, 2015 / 3:34 PM / in 4 years

Iran to present Syria peace plan to United Nations

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran will soon present the United Nations with a peace plan for Syria, where civil war has caused a humanitarian catastrophe and allowed the Islamic State group to flourish, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday.

Tehran, which has stood by its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, through more than four years of civil war, is hosting Syrian and Russian officials this week to discuss a solution to the conflict that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

“This plan will be presented to the U.N. Secretary General after detailed discussions between Tehran and Damascus are completed,” Abdollahian was quoted as saying by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors and many Western powers are wary of what they see as Tehran’s growing influence in the region, particularly as it is about to exit tough economic sanctions that had stifled its economic and diplomatic clout.

The Iranian plan will be based on a four-point initiative presented to the United Nations last year by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, comprising an immediate cease-fire, formation of a national unity government, constitutional protection for minorities and supervised elections.

Western and regional powers, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have also stepped up their efforts to solve the crisis, which has caused a huge outflow of refugees and allowed the ascent of jihadist group Islamic State.

But while all parties see Islamic State as a threat, Washington and its allies want to see Assad ousted as part of a resolution to the Syrian civil war.

Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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