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Kerry seeks to test Russia, Iran willingness to nudge Assad out

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry aims to test whether Russia and Iran are willing to push Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power and their commitment to fighting Islamic State in Syria, a top US official said on Thursday.
"The secretary thought it was time to bring everybody together and effectively call their bluff, determine whether or not... their public commitment to fighting [Islamic State] and terrorism is a meaningful one and the extent to which they are prepared to work broadly with international community to convince Mr. Assad that during a political transition process he will have to go," State Department counselor Tom Shannon told lawmakers of Kerry's talks with Iran, Russia and other nations in Vienna this week.
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