Tehran: Iran`s foreign minister said Istanbul
remains an acceptable location for talks with world powers
over Tehran`s nuclear programme, but noted Tuesday that his
country has proposed other venues such as Iraq or China for
the negotiations scheduled to start next week.
The suggestions of alternative sites raised the
possibility of complications to get talks under way as
expected on April 13 between Iran and envoys from the five
permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. It also
could bring accusations of stall tactics by Iran`s leaders.
Iran`s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Istanbul
was Iran`s first choice as a venue. It has now been publicly
cited by the US and others as the site of the talks.
But Salehi appeared to leave open the possibility,
however small, that the negotiations could shift to another
"Holding talks in Baghdad, and also China, as venue has
been out there," Salehi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting
in Tehran. "This is a course that both sides need to agree on
... Istanbul was our initial proposal as the venue for the
talks. The Europeans initially rejected but then agreed. At
the same time, we had other countries in mind."
Salehi noted that the content of the talks is "more
important than the venue and timing."
"I think the future talks, compared to the past, will
hopefully be better and forward steps will be taken," he said.
Talks broke down in January 2011 over Iran`s refusal to
halt uranium enrichment in exchange for reactor-ready fuel
from abroad. The West and others fear Iran could use its
ability to make nuclear fuel as the foundation for an eventual
atomic weapons programme. Iran insists it only seeks nuclear
power for energy and medical research.