Iran will attend this week's Syria peace conference after it pledged to play a "positive and constructive role" in efforts to end the three-year-old war, U.N leader "Ban Ki-moon" said Sunday.
Ban said he made a late invitation to Iran after intensive talks with Iran's Foreign Minister "Mohammad Javad Zarif", who agreed to attend.
Iran's involvement means that all the key countries linked to the crisis will now be at the opening of the peace conference in Montreux, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Ban said "Foreign Minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers", adding "it was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux".
"I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis", Ban stressed.
The United States and other Western powers had opposed Iran's attendance at the meeting as long as it refused to accept a communique adopted by the major powers in Geneva on June 30, 2012 calling for a transition government in Syria.
Ban said that as convener of the peace conference he has also invited Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea and the Vatican.
He said the extra countries would be "an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian government and opposition delegations will begin".
France's foreign minister "Laurent Fabius" said "participation in Geneva-2 is conditional upon explicitly accepting" the goals set out in the U.N invitation to the talks, namely "the establishment of a transitional government in Syria with full executive powers" .
British Foreign Office spokesman said "Iran must now clarify that they accept the basis of the U.Nsecretary-general's invitation. This makes it clear that the only basis for anyone to attend Geneva-2 is to implement in full the June 2012 Geneva communique, calling for mutually-agreed political transition".