Iran snubs Istanbul for Kazakh nuke talks

Iran snubs Istanbul for Kazakh nuke talks

Iran snubs Istanbul for Kazakh nuke talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. EPA Photo

Iran announced yesterday fresh talks in Kazakhstan instead of Istanbul with world powers on its nuclear drive and said it was open to a U.S. offer for two-way discussions if Washington’s intention was “authentic”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the six world powers planned to resume talks in Kazakhstan on Feb. 25 and he insisted Iran had never pulled back from the negotiations. “I have good news, I’ve heard yesterday that 5+1 or EU3+3 will be meeting in Kazakhstan 25th of February,” Salehi said during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference. Tehran recently rejected Istanbul as venue for talks scheduled on Jan. 28 and 29.

Iran and six world powers, the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, held three rounds of talks last year aimed at easing the standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities, which Tehran insists are peaceful. The six, known as the P5+1 or EU3+3, called on Iran to scale back its program but stopped short of meeting Tehran’s demands to scale back sanctions and the last round ended in stalemate in June in Moscow.

The new date for talks has not been confirmed by the office of the EU foreign policy chief, leading the negotiations, according to Agence France-Presse. “It was not us who has stepped back. But anyway we still are very hopeful,” Salehi said.

He added that Iran took comments by U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden who said here Feb. 2 Washington was ready to hold talks with Iran on its nuclear program, “with positive consideration”.

“We have no red line for negotiations, bilateral negotiations when it comes to negotiating over a particular subject,” he said.

“If the subject is the nuclear file, yes we are ready for negotiation but we have to make sure... that the other side this time comes with authentic intention with a fair and real intention to resolve the issue,” he added.

But he criticized as contradictory the desire for negotiation with Iran on the nuclear issue, while, on the other hand, the use of “threatening rhetorics that everything is on the table”. “If there is an honest intention on the other side, then we will take that into serious consideration,” Salehi said.