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Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:17AM
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

The Iranian foreign minister says Egypt has welcomed Tehran’s proposal for Cairo to host the next round of the talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that Egypt is now consulting with the P5+1 - comprising Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US plus Germany - for hosting the meeting. Salehi also rejected media claims about Iran’s dissatisfaction with Turkey’s hosting of the talks, stating that “Turkey made great efforts as the previous host of the negotiations and held them in a very good manner.” The Iranian diplomat noted that other countries would also like to host the talks and the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili has come to the conclusion that it is better for the negotiations to be held in different countries. Iran and the P5+1 group have held several rounds of talks with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Moscow in June, 2012. The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran has vehemently rejected the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that its civilian nuclear program has been diverted toward military purposes. TE/HJL
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