As Iran talks loom, Turkey prepares for turn at helm of UN security council
Turkey will take over the rotating presidency of the 15-member UN Security Council on Sept. 1 for one month, as talks on a standoff over Iran's nuclear program are expected to resume. Iran said it was ready to resume long-stalled nuclear talks with world powers in September, after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is over, despite sanctions imposed by the Security Council, the United States, and the European Union on the Islamic republic. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking late last month, said he also wanted Turkey and Brazil, which brokered a nuclear fuel swap deal with Tehran and then voted against UN sanctions at the Security Council, to be part of the new talks. However, diplomatic sources said the consent of all parties involved in the talks is needed to include Turkey and Brazil. Iran said in a recent letter to the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that Iran is ready to unconditionally start talks on the proposed uranium exchange plan and wants Turkey and Tehran to also join the negotiations. But the Vienna group, made up of the IAEA, the US, Russia and France, has so far not commented on Tehran's request. The exact date of the new talks will be set on the basis of the Vienna group's response to the Iranian letter to the IAEA. In related news, on Sept. 21 President Abdullah Gul is set to host world leaders at a summit as part of the opening of the UN General Assembly's 65th session to discuss issues such as Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, North Korea, terrorism, and climate change. Every month the General Assembly holds a session on an issue chosen by the president of the Security Council. Turkey, during its term presidency, chose Peacekeeping as the topic of the September meeting. A summit on the Millennium Development Goals will also take place on the sidelines of the General Assembly. After playing an active role at the UN in recent years, Turkey has also assumed the co-presidency of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee. Turkey became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2009, and its two-year term in the powerful world body closes at the end of this year.