LONDON - Britain on Tuesday told Iran to stop supporting the Syrian government of Bashar Assad militarily, urging it to back efforts to broker peace in Syria instead.
Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite allies Hezbollah have long backed Assad, and Western diplomats say Tehran is supplying weapons and personnel to help the Syrian leader win what is become an increasingly brutal war against rebel forces.
Addressing parliament on the eve of a Syrian peace conference in Switzerland, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Iran's involvement in any future peace settlement would be "extremely important", saying it needed to urgently rethink its Syria policy.
"We want Iran to desist from support for the brutality of the Assad regime," Hague told lawmakers, calling an overnight report purportedly showing the systematic torture and killing of about 11,000 detainees "compelling and horrific".
"We will always try persuasion, but it is in the end in the interests of Iran for there to be peace in Syria and therefore we ask Iran to embrace that opportunity."