TEHRAN – Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, in a statement issued on Monday, announced that the talks between Tehran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) will be held in Istanbul on April 14.
The statement also said that the two sides have agreed to hold the next round of talks in Baghdad, adding that the date of the Baghdad talks will be decided after the end of the Istanbul talks.
AFP also quoted a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as saying on Monday that world powers will hold a fresh round of nuclear talks with Iran in Istanbul on Saturday.
“We have agreed to launch talks in Istanbul on April 14,” Michael Mann said. “We hope that this first round will produce a conducive environment for concrete progress.
“We are of course aiming at a sustained process,” Mann added.
On January 22, 2011, Iran and the 5+1 group wrapped up their last round of talks in Istanbul without achieving concrete results.
Iran will not accept any preconditions
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also said on Monday that the Islamic Republic will not accept any preconditions for talks.
Salehi made the remarks in response to news reports by some Western media outlets saying that the U.S. and its allies will call for the immediate closure of the subterranean Fordo enrichment facility during the talks.
“Setting any condition or conditions before the meeting means coming to a conclusion before the talks, which is totally meaningless, and neither side will accept conditions set before the talks,” he said.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. and other Western nations plan to demand that Iran immediately close and ultimately dismantle a recently completed nuclear facility deep under a mountain as part of new talks with Tehran over its nuclear program.
The Obama administration and its European allies also will call for a halt in the production of higher-level enrichment of uranium fuel, and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of Iran, the newspaper said, citing U.S. and European diplomats.
The Iranian foreign minister also said that Iran will make every effort to make sure that the talks would be a “win-win” and produce positive results.
“We hope that in this meeting, steps forward would be taken,” Salehi said.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Fereydoun Abbasi also said on Saturday that the Western powers’ demands for the closure of the Fordo enrichment facility and a halt to 20 percent uranium enrichment are “illogical,” emphasizing that Iran will not close the Fordo facility.
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