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21 January 2012 - 21:02

In recent years, Turkey has played an active role in arbitrating disputes between Iran and the West powers on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

According to Khabar Online, Turkey's function in this regard was first proved in Tehran Nuclear Declaration, a Turkish-Brazilian brokered proposal made and approved on the sidelines of the late G 15 Summit in Tehran.
The declaration was a confidence-building plan to stave off a fourth round of sanctions driven by the West powers, although the intended sanctions were finally imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Later, the second round of negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) was held in Istanbul, Turkey in January 2011. The first round of the talks had been taken place in Geneva, Switzerland in December 2010.
As Iran and the 5+1 group have recently expressed their interest in resuming the negotiations, once again Turkey is making effort to play its role.
Almost two weeks after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made an unannounced visit to Tehran where he met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Sa'eed Jalili, Salehi traveled to Ankara to meet Turkish top officials.
Iran's Foreign Minister held discussions with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and Davutoglu. He later attended a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart.
Although official news agencies reported that Salehi's talks with Erdogan and Gul were centered on current and usual issues including a boost in economic cooperation and trade exchanges, it seems that the key issue of discussion was the next rounds of negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group.
According to some reports, at a meeting Turkish Prime Minister held with Iran's Foreign Minister the issue of Islamic republic's nuclear dispute was discussed where Erdogan stressed that Turkey has always backed Iran's peaceful nuclear program and is interested to resolve the issue through diplomatic methods as soon as possible.
He added that the resumption of nuclear talks of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) with Iran, and the cooperation of Tehran with the agency would contribute to settle the dispute.
The results of discussions between Iran and Turkey were better manifested at a joint news conference Salehi held with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara where Iran's Foreign Minister announced that Tehran will soon propose a date for resumption of talks with the 5+1 group on its nuclear program in Istanbul.
Therefore, it was stressed that the location of the new rounds of talks of Iran with the 5+1 group would be Istanbul.
Salehi further said that Sa'eed Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of National Security and a top nuclear negotiator will inform Davutoglu of proposed date for holding negotiations.
Turkish Foreign Minister in his own turn will convey the massage to European Union (EU) foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton who represents the 5+1 group. 
At the news conference Davutoglu suggested as well that the economic sanctions the United States has imposed on Iran and the decision made by some European countries to put similar embargos on Iran will not make Turkey to follow them.
 He said Ankara will not reduce the level of its economic ties with Iran as both countries have agreed to boost the scale of their bilateral trade to 30 billion dollars by 2015.
News ID 181407