Half-finished nuclear swap deal with ıran gets one more change
Amid rising hopes for revival of the aborted nuclear swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil with Iran in May, Tehran expressed readiness to sit again at the negotiating table with the West over its controversial nuclear program, with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying that simultaneous nuclear negotiations between Iran and the major world powers have been planned since May. Speaking to reporters over the weekend while visiting the Turkish pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, Davutoglu, who has pressed to keep the swap deal alive and resume talks between Iran and the West, said, "Making the nuclear fuel swap first and resuming negotiations later were Iran's priority, but now doing both simultaneously is the goal. We've been in touch with Iranian officials. Doing it this way may be possible." Agreeing to resume negotiations with the P5+1 group (the five permanent UN Security council members plus Germany) following a more than one-year lull, Iran said the new round of nuclear negotiations could take place after Nov. 10. As talks on the details of a possible meeting between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili continue, Turkey has made it known that it is ready to play the role of host country. The groundwork for this historic meeting was laid this summer, Davutoglu said, adding that his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki's statement after a meeting in Istanbul on July 15, saying that Iran was ready to stop the 20 percent uranium enrichment process if a swap deal was accepted, was a breakthrough. Following this statement, Ashton expressed readiness to meet with Jalili, Davutoglu said. Referring to talks between President Abdullah Gul and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this September, which he and Mottaki also took part in, Davutoglu said that Turkey then urged Iran to resume nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 as quickly as possible. The swap deal is still on the table, he added. In related news, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanperest said over the weekend that Tehran is ready to restart negotiations with the P5+1 earlier than initially planned. Stating that Jalili had sent Ashton a letter to this end, Mehmanperest expressed hope that details of the talks are worked out as soon as possible. But Tehran also announced that to see how the land lies, it would seek to exclude nuclear energy-related issues, including uranium enrichment, from the first meeting of the planned talks.