Iran says expects nuclear talks on April 13

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2012 5:04 AM
Iran says expects nuclear talks on April 13

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran expects to reopen talks with world powers - that could defuse mounting tensions over its disputed nuclear program - on April 13, state news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying on Wednesday.

Turkey has offered to host the talks and the location will be decided in the next few days, Salehi said in comments after greeting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on his arrival in Tehran.

A Brussels-based diplomat also said April 13 was the likely date.

The last meeting between Iran and the representatives of the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and China, in Istanbul in January 2011, failed to even agree an agenda.

Since then Washington and the EU have imposed much tougher sanctions on Iran which they accuse of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. Relations with the EU hit new lows when the bloc announced an embargo on Iranian oil and Britain closed its Tehran embassy after it was ransacked by protesters.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is expected once again to lead the talks on behalf of the group known as the P5+1 because it consists of all five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Earlier this month the group called on Iran "to enter, without pre-conditions, into a sustained process of serious dialogue, which will produce concrete results."

The United States and its allies have repeatedly accused Iran of covertly seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says it has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has refused to suspend uranium enrichment.

(Reporting By Marcus George; Additional reporting by Sebastian Moffett; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)