Turkish FM: Iran nuclear talks may resume in April

Davutoglu says Turkey will be willing host negotiations between Iran and 5 UNSC permanent members plus Germany.

By REUTERS
February 29, 2012 05:42
2 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Osman Orsal )

 
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ISTANBUL - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany over Tehran's disputed nuclear program may resume in April.

"Latest in April, I guess there will be a meeting in about a month's time. If they prefer to hold it in Turkey we will always host it," Davutoglu said in an interview with the state-run TRT Haber television, adding he would speak to his Iranian counterpart next week.

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Turkey prefers a diplomatic solution to address questions about Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is a cover to develop an atomic bomb. Iran says it is for purely peaceful power generation.

The group of major powers is worried that by producing nearly 20 percent enriched uranium, Iran has come closer to mastering the technology to obtain fissile material for bombs.

Davutoglu's announcement came as Iran said earlier on Tuesday there were two ways of dealing with its "peaceful nuclear program", either engagement or confrontation, but that it preferred cooperation.

In a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi accused the West of double standards for supporting Israel, the only Middle East state that is outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We have clearly stated time and time again there are two alternatives in dealing with the Iranian peaceful nuclear program. One way is engagement, cooperation and interaction. The other is confrontation and conflict," Salehi said.

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Salehi said that "...Iran is confident of the peaceful nature of its program and has always insisted on the first alternative. When it comes to our relevant rights and obligations, our consistent position is that Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable, legitimate rights."

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Iranian threat

The United Nations last week reported Iran has stepped up efforts to enrich uranium.

While Iran has insisted is developing nuclear power, and not weapons, UN nuclear inspectors have been denied access to some of Iran's more covert nuclear sites. Western nations continue to exact proof from Iran that it's nuclear program is not aimed at producing weapons, and have slapped far-reaching sanctions on the Islamic Republic for its failure to provide such evidence.

Salehi commented on a recent visit by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to Iran, saying "We expect the dialogue that has started will continue."

Salehi told reporters after giving his speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament: "There was some disagreement on drafting an initial framework that would set the ground for a new roadmap as how to proceed."

In high-level talks the IAEA conducted in Tehran earlier this month, Iranian officials again declined to address intelligence reports about covert research relevant to developing nuclear weapons.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report

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