Brussels: Talks next month between Iran and six world powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme will probably be held in Turkey, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Tuesday.
The talks from 1 October will “very likely” be held in Turkey, Solana told reporters in Brussels ahead of EU foreign ministers’ talks.
The five United Nations Security Council permanent members - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - plus Germany are due to take part in the talks with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Solana hailed the upcoming meeting as a step-change for US involvement.
“The Americans will be present in a formalized manner. This is new and I think that has to be evaluated positively by the Iranians,” he told reporters.
The last such encounter, with the United States taking part, took place in July 2008 in Geneva. However an EU diplomat stressed that the then Bush administration had made it clear that it was a “one-off” event.
Now with US President Barack Obama’s new “open-handed approach” to Iran, Washington, which has no diplomatic relations with Tehran, will be actively involved in the whole ongoing process, the diplomat said.
“At this point in time, we are going to try to enter into a negotiation,” said Solana, stressing the “double-track approach,” - the carrot and stick of trade, aid and sanctions.
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.
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 programme has peaceful goals.
The United States has said the new offers from Iran are “not really responsive” to concerns about its nuclear programme, tempering hopes for new talks aimed at breaking a three-year impasse.
Tehran is already under three sets of UN sanctions and European diplomats said on Friday that the EU could consider introducing more unilateral sanctions if the UN Security Council cannot agree to do so.
Europe and others envisage adopting fresh sanctions if the impasse persists, but are aware that reluctance from veto-wielding UNSC nations Russia and China could limit their effectiveness.