Sadly, the Geneva II summit on Syria lived up to the pessimistic predictions about its outcome. Without doubt, the fiasco of first inviting Iran and then retracting the invite — because of unreasonable US pressure — made a "mission impossible" in Geneva doubly so. Now that the first round of talks is over, we can calmly revisit the issue of Iran’s role in any future resolution of the Syrian conflict.
From the moment popular movements in the Middle East emerged, Iran urged self-restraint by the governments in the region toward the popular protests as well as paying attention to the legitimate demands of the people, and Syria was no exception. In their meetings with Syrian officials, Iranian officials consistently provided such advice. Yet, with the huge flow of money, arms and extremists into Syria, the nature of the problem changed. A prevailing interpretation then was that some regional governments are concerned about the domino effect of the Islamic awakening, also referred to as the Arab Spring, and prefer to divert this domino toward Syria and thus "bury" it there by transforming the Syrian crisis into a bloody military contest.