Turkey, Brazil urge Iran to be flexible on nuclear talks

Foreign ministers of Turkey and Brazil urged Iran to be open in dealings with the West.

Istanbul: Foreign ministers of Turkey and Brazil urged Iran Sunday to be flexible and open in dealings with the West over its atomic programme as Iran renewed its readiness to resume frozen nuclear talks.

The call came as Turkey`s Ahmet Davutoglu and Brazil`s Celso Amorim met their Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki over a luncheon in Istanbul, the first such gathering since the Islamic republic was slapped with new UN sanctions in June.

During the talks, Mottaki said Iran was ready to revive talks with the six world powers over its overall nuclear programme and would on Monday hand its response to the UN atomic watchdog on a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in May, Davutoglu said.

"Mottaki confirmed that they were ready to hold the talks at the end of Ramadan, possibly around the second week of September," Davutoglu told reporters after the meeting.

Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ordered a freeze on the nuclear talks with P5+1 group of world powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany -- until the end of August.

Last week, Mottaki and the European Union`s foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1, said the talks could resume in September.

"What we told the parties right from the start is for these negotiations to take place at once and for the parties to discuss all issues in the most transparent and open manner," Davutoglu said in comments before meeting Mottaki.

The Turkish minister added that Tehran would on Monday hand to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a letter on the May 17 deal for Iran to send some of its uranium stockpiles abroad.

The letter would be a response to the questions raised by the Vienna group -- the United States, Russia and France -- on the deal, he added.

"The important (thing) is to answer the letter of the Vienna group in a positive spirit and ask... to start with technical negotiations," Davutoglu said.

Iran`s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Saturday that Tehran`s response would be a general one and that the technical response to the Vienna group`s questions would be "discussed probably in a meeting", without saying when it might take place.

Brazil`s Amorim called on Iran to adopt a facilitating attitude in the talks over the swap deal.

"We have always encouraged Iran to take a flexible position and to go to this meeting," he said.

"We want to preserve Iran`s right for a peaceful nuclear programme, but at the same time give guarantees to the world in general that this programme has no military implications."

Davutoglu said Mottaki had also requested Brazil and Turkey to take part in the negotiations.

"Brazil and Turkey said such a contribution was possible only if all the parties request it. We are ready to help if there is a demand by all," he added.

Under the swap deal, Iran agreed to send 1,200 kilogrammes of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Turkey to be supplied at a later date with high-enriched uranium by Russia and France.

But it was immediately cold-shouldered by world powers, which backed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran on June 9 over its refusal to halt its sensitive uranium enrichment programme.

The latest UN sanctions were followed by unilateral punitive measures from Washington, and the European Union will on Monday impose punitive measures targeting Iran`s energy sector.

Ahmadinejad warned the 27-nation bloc on Sunday that his country would react to the measures swiftly and cause "remorse".

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, fearing Tehran would use the material to make a nuclear bomb. Tehran insists its atomic programme is peaceful.

Bureau Report

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