BRUSSELS (Combined Sources)—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutolu is positioning Turkey as a leading intermediary in Iran’s controversial nuclear energy issue after holding talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Talks will be held next month between Iran and the six world powers, will probably be held in Turkey, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Tuesday.
The meeting comes after Iran submitted a document to world powers laying out its position on resolving several global security problems. The text said the Islamic republic was ready to enter into negotiations on a number of issues. “I think it will very likely be in Turkey,” Solana said.
After a separate meeting with European Union security chief Javier Solana in Cairo last week to discuss the nuclear situation, Foreign Minister Davutoglu held detailed talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the minister’s Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili over the weekend.
On Sunday, Davutoglu said that Turkey is ready to host talks between Iran, the US,
Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany will also participate in the upcoming meeting on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Western nations are calling on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment drive which they suspect is for making atomic weapons.
Tehran denies the charges and says its nuclear program has peaceful goals.
On Monday, Solana said the Oct. 1 meeting could set the stage for progress in resolving the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s refusal to freeze uranium enrichment and heed other U.N. Security Council demands.
Solana said he expected to “achieve the most” at the Oct. 1 meeting because the United States will formally participate for the first time in the nuclear talks. “I think that has to be evaluated positively by the Iranians,” Solana told reporters.
The United States, however, has said the new offers from Iran are “not really responsive” to concerns about its nuclear program, dampening hopes for new talks aimed at breaking a three-year impasse.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU presidency said “it’s much too early to discuss at the moment” a push for new sanctions.
Tehran is already under three sets of UN sanctions and European diplomats said Friday that the EU could consider introducing more unilateral sanctions if the UN Security Council cannot agree to do so.
The U.S., Israel and the EU fear that Iran is using its nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran says the program serves purely civilian purposes and that it has the right to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants.
Europe and others envisage adopting fresh sanctions if the impasse persists, but are aware that reluctance from veto-wielding UN Security Council nations Russia and China could limit their effectiveness.
Turkey, for its part, believes “Iran has the right to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” but is “against nuclear armament in [the] region,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday. Ozygergun was describing Turkey’s position ahead of the Sept. 24 meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Turkey currently holds a seat as a non-permanent member of the Security Council and has served as its chair once already.