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Iraq says Iran proposes Baghdad as nuclear talks venue

world Updated: Apr 04, 2012 11:46 IST

Reuters
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Iran has proposed holding the next round of talks with six world powers over its disputed nuclear programme next week in Iraq instead of Turkey, Iraq's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday the April 13-14 negotiations with Iran would be held in Istanbul, the first such meeting since January 2011 when the two sides failed even to agree on an agenda.

Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters the proposal for talks in Baghdad came from an Iranian delegation visiting on Tuesday and he would meet with ambassadors from the five Western powers plus Germany on Tehran's plan.

"The proposal came from them. We received a delegation from Iran... Today we are inviting G5 plus one ambassadors to hand over a letter about the proposal," Zebari said.

Iraq's Shi'ite-led government is closely aligned with Iran in a region where Sunni Arab Gulf powers are jockeying for influence with Shi'ite power Tehran.

A senior Iranian figure recently spoke out against Turkey hosting the talks as once warm Iranian-Turkish relations have cooled in the past year over the Turkish position against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's close Arab ally.