Iran nuclear talks set for Istanbul

RIYADH/ISTANBUL. April 1. KAZINFORM  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday in Saudi Arabia that six world powers and Iran have agreed on meeting in Turkey's Istanbul next month to resume their stalled talks over Tehran's controversial nuclear program, according to Xinhua.

The talks will be on April 13, Clinton said at a news conference after a security conference in Saudi Arabia. The US top diplomat is currently visiting the region for talks about the situation in Iran and Syria.

Clinton said that the nuclear talks between six nations and Iran aim at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. "We're going in with one intention: to resolve the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program," she said.

But she is also suspicious of Iran's intention of negotiating a solution in Istanbul.

In a televised speech following Clinton's announcement, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed Saturday evening that P5+1 and Iran were willing to hold the next round of their negotiations in Istanbul, adding that Turkey was ready to make any contribution to the settlement of this issue through diplomatic means.

The resumption of negotiations came after a more-than-one-year deadlock on talks over Iran's suspected nuclear program. The talks group the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China) plus Germany, known as P5+1, as well as Iran.

The last round of talks was held in Istanbul in January 2011 but ended up in vain. The round before that, in late 2010, was in Geneva.

Some European countries want the new round of talks in Geneva rather than Istanbul again. But Iran and Turkey insist on the nuclear talks in Istanbul.

On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini Khamenei had informed visiting Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that he wanted Iran's nuclear negotiations to take place in Istanbul.

Erdogan reiterated Turkey's readiness to host nuclear talks in Istanbul, saying: "We had made a proposal to hold the nuclear meeting in Istanbul. We are waiting for the decision of the P5+1."

The talks carry hopes of defusing a tense international showdown over Iran's nuclear activities that has sent oil prices soaring.

The UN has by now imposed four rounds of sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for bomb.

The EU, the United States and some other countries have imposed an oil embargo as part of sanctions to pressure Tehran into resuming talks on the country's nuclear program. They have also imposed tough banking sanctions aimed at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil, which accounts for 80 percent of its foreign revenue.

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