|Salehi optimistic about Iran-5+1 talks||
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi seems optimistic about the planned talks between Iran and the major powers, saying, “I think the future talks will be better compared to the previous ones, and steps forward will be taken.”
Diplomats from Iran and the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are scheduled to meet for nuclear talks on April 13.
Iraq, China possible venues for talks
Salehi who was talking to reporters after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday also said Iraq and China are possible venues for the next round of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group.
“Baghdad and China have been discussed as (possible) venues for holding negotiations, and this issue has to be agreed on by the sides,” Salehi said.
Salehi said that Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili will announce the venue for talks after consultations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Today in the cabinet meeting, the president expressed his view about the venue for holding negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 countries, and Mr. Jalili will make the final announcement after consultations with the president,” Salehi said.
“Our initial proposal was to hold negotiations in Istanbul, which the Europeans first rejected and then agreed to, but, at the same time, we had other countries in our mind,” the foreign minister explained.
Agenda of talks is important
Salehi went on to say that what is more important is the “agenda of the talks, and I think the future talks will be better compared to the previous ones, and steps forward will be taken.”
Senior Chinese, Indian officials may visit Iran
The top diplomat also said that talks have been held on possible visits by senior Chinese and Indian officials to Iran in the coming months.
The Indian daily newspaper Deccan Herald reported on Sunday that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit scheduled to be held at the Iranian city of Isfahan late summer.
Annan may visit Iran next week
On his announcement that Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League special envoy, was to visit Tehran on April 2 or 3 for talks on the Syrian crisis, Salehi said Annan was supposed to come to Iran last week, but the visit has been delayed until the next week.
Annan’s six-point plan has called for a UN-supervised ceasefire by all parties, withdrawal of soldiers and heavy weapons from cities, and delivery of humanitarian aid.
Salehi said, “We are happy that Annan’s six-point plan has been agreed upon with certain considerations.”
The Iranian foreign minister said a retreat from cities by the Syrian Army should not be “misused” by insurgents.
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