Baghdad: Iran wants crucial nuclear talks
with world powers to take place in Baghdad instead of Istanbul
as had been mooted, according to a statement from Iraq
welcoming the proposal.
An "Iranian delegation expressed the desire for Iraq to
host the international meeting on the Iranian nuclear file of
the five permanent members of the (UN) Security Council plus
Germany" in Baghdad, said the statement posted on the foreign
ministry`s website late yesterday.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced last
weekend that the talks are due to take place April 13 and 14
But EU diplomats cautioned that the venue was still under
discussion, and Russia said on Monday that "the date and the
place of the meeting have not been definitively set."
The negotiations are seen as an important opportunity to
lower tensions over Iran`s nuclear programme that have been
coloured by threats from Israel and the United States of
The last round of talks between Iran and the so-called
P5+1 group was held in Istanbul in January 2011 and ended in
failure. Geneva hosted the round before that in late 2010.
Washington and its allies believe Iran`s nuclear
activities include a drive towards atomic weapons capability
and have imposed a raft of sanctions to punish Tehran.
Iran denies there is any military component to its
programme and says it will not bow to sanctions pressure.
Iran`s deputy nuclear negotiator Ali Baqeri, met Iraqi
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari last night, the ministry
statement said, adding that Iran`s ambassador to Baghdad also
"The (Iraqi) foreign minister welcomed the Iranian
proposal" for Baghdad to host the talks, it said.