Istanbul, Turkey will be the setting for much-anticipated nuclear talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) in early April, according to the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu.
The meeting follows a letter from Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, offering to re-start such talks after more than a year.
The Turkish foreign minister told the daily newspaper Radikal that the summit will seek to pressure Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program.
Iran must choose between “the gain and loss of sanctions and the gain and loss of nuclear power,” Davuto?lu added, referring to sanctions imposed on Iran's oil sector.
According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, the foreign minister also referred to the aborted May 2010 Tehran Agreement between Iran, Brazil and Turkey, which stipulated that Iran would exchange 1,200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium for 20 percent-enriched fuel on Turkish soil. However, that pact was rejected by the west -- leading Davuto?lu to call it a huge “missed opportunity.”
“If that agreement was accepted, Iran would have taken the uranium it needed from abroad, halting the process of enrichment,” Davutoglu said.
Western powers and Israel believe Iran is developing atomic weapons -- a charge the Iranians have repeatedly denied. Iran insists that it has the right develop nuclear power and has thus far indicated that it will continue with the uranium enrichment activities.
As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranians feel they are justified in pursuing nuclear technology.