Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will join international talks on Syria's future with the next round in Vienna on Friday, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"Based on invitation for the Islamic Republic of Iran to participate in this summit, the foreign minister will be present in Vienna at the head of a high-ranking political delegation for talks on the situation in Syria," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.

The participation of Syrian President Bashar Assad's chief backer adds a new dimension to the talks seeking an end to that country's four-year-old civil war, a dimension unwelcome to many U.S. lawmakers.

Tehran is estimated to have spent billions to prop up Assad's regime and also has contributed combat troops to his fight against rebels, not only from its own forces but from proxies such as the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah. That support is expected to increase once Iran begins receiving billions of dollars in sanctions relief from the nuclear deal reached with world powers in July.

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Tehran's support has been magnified in recent weeks with the intervention of Russian forces into the conflict on Assad's side. The invitation for Iran to participate in the talks came from Moscow.

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