Istanbul may host nuclear talks: Iran
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily NewsIranian Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Salehi said Istanbul would be the likely venue of the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group.
“I personally want these meetings to be held in Istanbul. Negotiations are going on [about the venue and date]. The date will be set in the near future. Most probably the venue will be Istanbul,” Salehi told reports ahead of meetings with Turkish officials yesterday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was in touch with the Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili and the High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton, who heads the so-called P5+1 delegation.
Salehi said bilateral diplomatic ties were at their highest level and Turkish and Iranian people have strong ties. He said, “40 percent of Iranian people speak Turkish.”
Relations between the two countries are interlinked, and developments in the region have increased their importance, Salehi said. The meetings were aimed at increasing the volume of bilateral trade and would see the signing of new memorandums of understanding, he added.
The Iranian foreign minister visited Konya for touristic travel yesterday and arrived in Ankara on the same day for talks on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program with Turkish leaders. Salehi met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül and Urban Affairs Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, who is co-chair of the meeting of the Turkey-Iran joint economic commission in Ankara. His talks will continue today with Davutoğlu.
The visit comes while the U.S. spearheads a campaign to squeeze Iran’s oil exports and put greater pressure on its nuclear program, which the West believes masks a drive to develop atomic weapons.
Ankara says the U.N. Security Council sanctions are binding for Turkey.
Iran provided about 40 percent of Turkey’s oil needs in 2011, and its biggest refiner TÜPRAŞ recently made a deal to purchase 9 million tons of crude oil from Tehran.