Iran backs Annan's Syria peace plan

DUBAI - Iran backs a UN-sponsored peace plan for Syria that calls for the withdrawal of troops that are crushing an uprising but does not demand the removal of Tehran ally President Bashar Assad, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Iran backed popular uprisings that removed leaders in Egypt, Libya and Yemen but has steadfastly supported Syria, a rare ally in the Arab world which is largely suspicious of Tehran's ambitions for greater regional influence.
"Syria issue should be dealt with patiently," the official news agency IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying, warning that "any hasty approach to the Syrian issue and the creation of a power vacuum in that country could have very damaging consequences for the region."
He added that UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan would travel to Iran on Monday or Tuesday next week.
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