MOSCOW - Russia called on Monday for Iranian involvement in efforts to end the conflict in Syria, putting it at odds with the United States, and said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would travel to Tehran on Wednesday.

Lavrov's discussions will focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, with attention to Syria, and on a June 18-19 meeting in Moscow between global powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear program, Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

Russia is resisting Western and Gulf Arab pressure to take a tougher stance toward Syrian President Bashar Assad, rejecting calls for sanctions and advocating a conference bringing together global and regional powers including Iran.

Lavrov intends to discuss the initiative with Iran.

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