Iran and UN discuss agreement on Syria assistance

AP News
Posted: Sep 15, 2013 10:52 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran and a senior representative of the United Nations on Sunday discussed the country providing humanitarian assistance in the Middle East, including Syria, local media reported.

A report by the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi saying Iran is ready for extended and effective cooperation with the U.N. to provide humanitarian aid.

"There are plenty of crisis caused by political developments in the Middle East, like what we are currently witnessing in Syria," Araghchi was quoted as saying.

ISNA initially reported a deal on aid had been signed. Iranian state television and the U.N. later said it had only been discussed.

The discussion came during a meeting with U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos. Amos is on her first visit to Tehran.

Iranian state television reported Amos also met Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and stressed the importance of Iran providing assistance to regional countries like Syria. Zarif told Amos about Iran's humanitarian efforts so far in Syria, the report said.

Iran is key regional backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's civil war. It has occasionally sent humanitarian aid to Syria in the past.

In a statement, Amos said she asked for the Iranian government's help in obtaining "better access for aid operations" in Syria.

"As others continue to pursue a political solution to the conflict in Syria, I can only stress the massive human cost," she said.