Iran Proposes Egypt As Venue for Nuclear Talks With World Powers

From The Washington Post

Iran has proposed Cairo as a venue for restarting talks with the U.S. and other world powers over its controversial nuclear program, the country’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

Ali Akbar Salehi’s announcement was the latest indication of Tehran’s willingness to go back into the negotiations in hopes of wresting concessions from the West over stepped-up sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iran has also been trying to reach out to Egypt since the February 2011 fall of Hosni Mubarak, seeking to resume relations with the Arab state and extend its influence in the Middle East.

The Iranian foreign minister said Egypt has welcomed the Tehran offer and is now consulting about it with the six-nation group — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Iran “has suggested that the next meeting be held in Cairo. Egypt has welcomed the proposal,” Salehi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

“Egyptian officials are now consulting with the six-nation group … a date and a venue have not been finalized yet,” Salehi said.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and their deputies have been in discussions in recent weeks to restart the talks after the last round ended in stalemate in Moscow last June. Since then, Western sanctions have been pressing hard on the Iranian economy.

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