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Iran's President Rouhani says Tehran will accept any elected Syria ruler

Iran's President Hasan Rouhani says his country will accept anyone as ruler of Syria who is elected by the Syrian people.

His remarks reported by the official news agency IRNA are a slight change of emphasis from comments by other Iranian leaders, which have often emphasized Iran's support for its ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and blamed the West for the rebellion against him.

The Monday report quotes Rouhani as saying, "Whoever Syrian citizens vote for to rule their country, we'll agree with it."

Syria plans a presidential election in 2014, but few in the opposition take the vote seriously or believe it can be held amid the country's civil war.

Opposition groups say they oppose all negotiation with Assad's government unless it is aimed at his giving up power.