Turkey: Iran may talk with EU

Davutoglu says nuclear program could be discussed in early September.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 25, 2010 16:20
2 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, talks to the media with his Brazilian counterpart

Turkey Brazil Iran 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

ANKARA, Turkey — Iran might hold talks on the country's nuclear program with the European Union in early September, after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday.

Davutoglu spoke after meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. He said Mottaki "confirmed the meeting might take place after Ramadan."

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"This is positive momentum," Davutoglu said, expressing Turkey's readiness to host the meeting if needed.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, sent a letter to the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, detailing Tehran's conditions for the talks in early July.

"The Jalili-Ashton meeting is overdue," Davutoglu said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has set three conditions for an eventual resumption of talks, saying countries who want to participate should make clear whether they oppose Israel's nuclear arsenal, whether they support the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and whether they want to be friends or enemies with Iran. But he said participation in the talks was not contingent on the answers.

Jalili's letter reiterated those three points and stressed that the EU must make it clear whether the talks will be aimed at "interaction and cooperation, or hostility and confrontation."

The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful electricity production.

The UN imposed tougher sanctions on Iran last month after failing to get the country to accept a UN-drafted plan to swap its low-enriched uranium for higher-enriched uranium in the form of fuel rods Iran needs for a medical research reactor. The EU has also imposed new sanctions.

At the time, the swap would have significantly reduced Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile and delayed any weapons-making capabilities.

Instead, Iran opted for a plan backed by Turkey and Brazil that included the uranium-for-rods exchange but didn't mandate a halt on Iran's enrichment process and fell short of UN demands.

Turkey and Brazil on Sunday expressed support for a diplomatic solution to the standoff.


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