UN chief reiterates support for Iran's participation in next month's peace conference on Syria

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Iran is a very important regional power that can play a major role in helping end the Syrian conflict and should be allowed to participate in next month's peace conference in Switzerland.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy, said Friday the United States is blocking Iran's participation.

The U.N. chief said Monday he plans to issue invitations before the end of December to the Jan. 22 peace conference and expressed hope that "the question of Iran's participation is resolved soon."

The U.N. chief said "negotiations will be difficult, but without them there is only bloodshed and despair on the horizon."