Iranian media say talks to go ahead as planned

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 08, 2012 8:03 AM
Iranian media say talks to go ahead as planned

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian media said on Sunday talks aimed at resolving a nuclear standoff with the West would go ahead as planned, in Istanbul later this week, but there was no official confirmation from Tehran or the other capitals involved.

The meeting - a resumption of talks that collapsed more than a year ago - looked in doubt after Tehran voiced concerns about holding them in Turkey, whose opposition to President Bashar al-Assad has angered the Islamic Republic.

"After weeks of debates, Iran and the six world powers agreed to attend a first meeting in Istanbul," the semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing unnamed sources.

State-run English language Press TV carried the same report, saying the talks were "slated for next week", referring to Friday, the day diplomats had expected them to happen.

There was no immediate comment from Turkey or the counterparts in the talks - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Fars said the parties had also agreed to hold a second round of talks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad if they made progress in Turkey.

The United States and its European allies suspect Iran of covertly developing atomic weapons, accusations Tehran denies.

Washington and Brussels imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Tehran after the previous talks collapsed, cutting it off from global financial services and imposing embargoes on its key export, oil.

The talks might provide a path to lift sanctions and ease the threat of military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites by Israel which sees the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran as a threat to its existence.

Iran says it has a sovereign right to nuclear activities that it says are entirely peaceful. It accuses the nuclear-armed West of hypocrisy and of trying to stifle its technological progress.

(Reporting By Marcus George; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)