United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, centre, reaches out to shake hands as he arrives for the conference on Disarmament at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on January 21, 2014. Picture: Anja Niedringhaus

Tehran, Iran -

Iran is criticising the UN chief for rescinding his invitation to Tehran for the Syria peace talks in Geneva, calling the diplomatic about-face “deplorable.”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday that Ban Ki-moon's decision to withdraw his last-minute offer to Iran to attend the conference shows the UN chief came “under some pressure.”

She says: “From our point of view, the withdrawal is deplorable.”

Afkham says that Iran would expect Ban Ki-moon to explain the “real reasons” for withdrawing the invitation.

The invitation extended by Ban on Sunday put the talks in jeopardy, with the Syrian opposition threatening to boycott the gathering and the US pushing for the rescinding of the offer to Iran, Syria's main regional ally. - Sapa-AP