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POLITICS > Turkey hosts nuclear meeting

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Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Jalili meets with Turkish FM Davutoğlu in Ankara. AA Photo

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Jalili meets with Turkish FM Davutoğlu in Ankara. AA Photo

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will meet with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul today, as tensions mount over Tehran’s disputed atomic program, her office said.

The meeting “is part of continuing efforts to engage with Iran, led by the high representative, and in line with the understandings reached at the negotiating round in Moscow in June,” a spokeswoman said yesterday, according to Agence France-Presse.

“While it is not a formal negotiating round, the meeting will be an opportunity to stress once again to Iran the need for an urgent and meaningful confidence-building step and to show more flexibility with the proposals ... tabled in Baghdad [in May].” Ashton talked to Jalili by phone in early August, hoping to get the negotiations back on track.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a surprise meeting with Jalili in Ankara yesterday to brief him on last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna, diplomatic sources said. “Jalili wanted to come to Turkey to discuss the latest developments on the Iranian nuclear issue,” a diplomatic source said on condition of anonymity.

Davutoğlu reiterated the necessity of resolving the nuclear conflict with Iran through diplomacy and expressed the importance of dialogue, diplomatic sources told Anatolia news agency, adding that developments in Syria were also on the agenda of the Davutoğlu-Jalili meeting.

Jalili is also set to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan early today in Ankara.

The so-called P5+1 contact group, made up of Britain, China, France, Russia, the U.S. and Germany, has asked Iran to immediately stop enriching uranium due to fears that Tehran might be developing nuclear weapons. Iran rejects the allegations, saying its nuclear program is peaceful and for energy and development purposes only. The 35-nation board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog censured Iran on Sept. 13.

September/18/2012

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