Iran nuke talks in Istanbul

2012-04-09 14:38

Tehran - Iran on Monday confirmed that nuclear talks this week with world powers would take place in Istanbul, dropping public reservations over that city as venue following a sharp-worded row with Turkey.

If the Istanbul negotiations with the P5+1 group - the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany - on Saturday prove fruitful, another round of talks could be held in Baghdad, the office of Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said.

"The first round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 will be held on April 14 in Istanbul and a second round will be held in Baghdad" at a date to be mutually agreed, said the statement from the Supreme National Security Council headed by Jalili.

The confirmation appeared to put an end to Iran's see-sawing position on Istanbul that cast a cloud of doubt over the talks in recent days.

Tehran had at first enthusiastically embraced the Turkish city as the ideal venue for the talks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even went as far as to declare that city as the host of the talks.

But last week Iranian officials and politicians suddenly went cold on it, saying Turkey's support of the opposition in Syria - Iran's chief ally - excluded Istanbul as a venue. They proposed Baghdad instead, or possibly Damascus or Beijing.

That earned an unexpectedly virulent rebuke from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had visited Tehran just days earlier to discuss the talks with Iran's leaders.

"It is necessary to act honestly," Erdogan said last Thursday.

"They (the Iranians) continue to lose prestige in the world because of a lack of honesty," he stormed.

By Monday, Iran had once again come around to accepting Istanbul as the venue.

In Brussels, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is representing the P5+1, said "we have agreed to launch talks in Istanbul on April 14".

He gave no indication, though, of any discussion about further rounds of talks, or whether they would be held in Baghdad.

Jalili's statement underlined that Iran had set aside its reservations and was back on board with Istanbul.

But the incident added to strains already apparent in bilateral relations.

Turkey, which lies over Iran's northern border, sources a third of its oil imports from Iran, and it has in the past two years sought to position itself as a diplomatic bridge between the Islamic republic and the West.

But Ankara's decision to install an early warning system for a Nato-led anti-missile shield seen as protection from Iranian missiles sparked unease in Tehran last year.

And in recent weeks, Turkey has joined US-imposed sanctions by cutting Iranian oil imports by 20 percent, triggering further animosity.

It is Turkey's position on Syria, though, that has greatly irritated Iran.

On April 1, Istanbul served as the venue for a "Friends of Syria" conference gathering countries sympathetic to rebels seeking to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran has repeatedly vowed to stand by Assad, and has been giving him political and material support as he cracks down on unrest. The United Nations says more than 9,000 people have been killed in Syria since the violence started a year ago.


Read more on:    turkey  |  iran

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



9 richest pets
The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

In order to really connect to your feelings, you need to quieten your mind. Let go of expectations and connect to the moment more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.