Is Iran pulling back from the nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China), only nine days before they were supposed to begin?
We thought the discussions had been agreed for Istanbul. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the meeting would be in Istanbul. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, had said Istanbul. Now this:
Iran has proposed holding the next round of talks with six world powers over its disputed nuclear program next week in Iraq instead of Turkey, Iraq's foreign minister said on Wednesday....
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.
Amid the supposed confirmation of Istanbul, there had been a ripple within the Iranian regime. Mohsen Rezaei, the Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, had criticised Turkey as a venue --- Baghdad was one of his alternatives.
To be honest, we dismissed the remarks as a bit of internal sniping, rather than an expression of the regime's position. Now it appears we were wrong.
So is this just a bit of posturing by the Islamic Republic to show supposed "strength", only to give the "concession" of talks in Turkey at the last moment? Or is the regime, headed by the Supreme Leader, really willing to take down the discussions?