United Nations and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has held talks with Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as he seeks the help of Damascus's staunch ally in ending the 16-month conflict in Syria.
The meeting came a day after Annan met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and it underlined Tehran's importance in international efforts to stem the bloodshed in Syria.
"Iran can play a positive role," Annan said on Tuesday, adding that he would continue to work with the Iranian leadership to resolve the crisis, which monitors say has killed more than 17,000 people.
"There is a risk that the situation in Syria gets out of hand and spreads to the region," Annan told a joint news conference with Salehi, who hailed Annan's "neutrality".
A day earlier, the former UN secretary-general had announced a new political "approach" in a bid to resolve the crisis in Syria, where deadly violence shows no sign of abating.
At least 98 people were killed nationwide on Monday, including 34 soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, almost doubling an earlier toll of 55.
The UK-based monitoring group had said nearly 100 people were also killed on Sunday.
"We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition," Annan said in Damascus after holding talks with Assad and before flying to Tehran.
Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi called Monday's meeting "constructive and good".
World powers meeting in Geneva last month agreed on a plan for a political transition in Syria which did not make an explicit call for Assad to quit, although the West and the opposition made clear it saw no role for him in a unity government.
The Russian government said on Tuesday that it wanted to host a new meeting of foreign powers concerning the Syrian crisis but stressed that the talks should not decide the fate of President Assad.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov also said the attempt in Geneva to save Annan's tattered peace plan needed to be continued with the involvement of countries such as Iran - something strongly opposed by both Washington and European powers.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the US and its allies of opposing Assad's regime with the goal of dominating the Middle East and propping up Israel.
Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said its priority was to "work for the fall of the Assad regime and all its symbols", insisting there could be no political transition until the embattled president's departure.
Earlier the SNC had slammed Annan's decision to meet Assad, saying thousands of people have been killed despite an April ceasefire.
The opposition coalition's new leader Abdel Basset Sayda is due to travel to Moscow on Wednesday at the invitation of the Russian foreign ministry, the SNC said.
Annan, whose observers in Syria have been grounded because of escalating violence, admitted in remarks published by French newspaper Le Monde ahead of his Damascus trip that his peace blueprint has so far foundered.
He has expressed frustration that while Moscow and Iran are mentioned by some as stumbling blocks to peace, "little is said about other countries which send arms, money, and have a presence on the ground".
Moscow arms export officials said on Monday that Russia would not supply new weapons to Syria while fighting there continued but stressing that old contracts would be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, the US and the European Union have expressed concern at the outbreak of cross-border clashes with Lebanon.
Shells fired from Syria landed overnight on Monday in northern Lebanon after an exchange of fire along the border, a senior Lebanese security official told AFP.
The Syrian shells were fired into Lebanon following a cross-border gun battle, the official said.
The incident came just two days after border clashes in which two girls were killed and several other people wounded.
The US ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly, on Monday called on Damascus to "respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon".
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's office said she "strongly condemns the recent shelling of the Lebanese border area by Syrian artillery, causing several deaths and injuries".