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Diplomats are in the midst of what U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called “intensive and urgent discussions” over the U.N.’s last minute invitation to Iran to attend Syria peace talks planned for later this week.

Iran and Russia are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main foreign backers – so Tehran’s presence has been one of the most contentious issues looming over the first talks attended by both Assad's government and opponents, set to start on Wednesday.

For the U.S., a major sticking point in Iran’s participation in the talks is that Tehran must accept an agreement reached in June 2012 creating a transitional government for Syria - which Washington says would be without Assad.

Iran’s inclusion in the talks are now threatening to scupper the talks since both the Syria’s opposition and the U.S. have voiced their opposition to Tehran's inclusion.