The Turkish ambassador to Tehran says Turkey will only host talks between Iran and the six major world powers and will not participate in the negotiations.
“Since Iran was interested in talks being held in Turkey, and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US, and Germany) had a positive view toward this matter, Turkey accepted Iran's proposal,” Ambassador Umit Yardim said on Monday.
Last week, Iran and the P5+1 group wrapped up two days of multifaceted talks in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the comprehensive talks, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili represented Iran and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represented the P5+1 group.
Both sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in Istanbul in late January.
“As you know, Turkey is sensitive toward Iran's nuclear issue after signing the Tehran declaration, because this matter is also related to regional issues,” ISNA quoted Yardim as saying.
The foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey, and Brazil signed a declaration in Tehran on May 17, according to which Iran would ship 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel rods to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment.
The nuclear declaration gives Iran a guarantee since the low-enriched uranium is to be stored in Turkey and would be returned if Iran does not receive the 20 percent enriched nuclear fuel within one year.
However, the US and its allies snubbed the declaration and used their influence on the UN Security Council to press for the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran over the country's civilian nuclear program, which they claim is cover for a nuclear weapons program.
Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected the accusations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has the right to use nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes and to enrich uranium to produce fuel.
And the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.