After months of international tensions, long-stalled nuclear talks between Iran and foreign leaders will resume on April 13.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Wednesday that Iran is willing to meet with the P5+1, the negotiation group made up of United States, Russia, Britain China, France, Britain and Germany.
The location of the talks has not been set, but Salehi suggested that Turkey could play host, the official Press TV reported. His remarks came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in Tehran for the start of a two-day visit in which he will discuss the nuclear issue, as well as the situation in Syria and other regional topics, with senior Iranian officials.
“I personally believe that Istanbul is the better option for hosting the negotiations but making the decision on this matter is the responsibility of Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Mr. Saeed Jalili, said Salehi.
Turkey's ambassador to Iran, Umit Yardim, said on Wednesday that his country is ready and willing to host the talks.
Earlier in the week, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the deadline for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue was approaching. Obama shared his thoughts with Erdogan during the recent nuclear summit in South Korea, with hopes that the Turkish prime minister would pass the message to Tehran.
I believe there is a window of time to solve this diplomatically, but that window is closing, Obama on Monday.
Iran and Western leaders have been trying to start nuclear negotiations since 2003, but after a rocky start and a number of failed proposals, serious negotiations never materialized. After the November release of a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that claimed Iran has been building nuclear weapons, pressure to revive the negotiations reached a crescendo.
Although Iran claims its ambitions are peaceful, the United States and the European Union unleashed a wave of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic while Israel has threatened to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres have somewhat cooled the saber-rattling, but the military option is still on the table if sanctions or negotiations fail.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian Nobel laureate and former head of the IAEA, said that a strike on Iran would be totally crazy and have a dire effect on security in the Middle East.
“I pray that this will never happen ... I think the Israelis …[will] realize that this will diminish their security instead of adding to their security,” ElBaradei told a German news agency on Tuesday.
“The issue is only going to be resolved when the Americans and the Iranians sit at the negotiating table and find a way to live together,” he added.