Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says he expects this
weekend's talks in Geneva that will include the participation of a U.S.
diplomat will bring significant progress in negotiations over Iran's
nuclear program. His comment was made during a visit to the Turkish
capital Ankara. For VOA, Dorian Jones reports for VOA from Istanbul.
nuclear program topped the agenda of talks between the Iranian Foreign
Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan.
visit comes ahead of Saturday's meeting in Geneva with the
international community over growing concerns about Iran's nuclear
Both the United States and Israel suspect Iran of
carrying out a secret program to build atomic weapons - a charge
denied by Tehran.
But Mottaki, addressing a press conference, expressed optimism about the talks.
new negotiation process, with the participation of a U.S. diplomat,
looks positive from the outset, but we hope that is reflected in the
talks, he said.
The United States until now had ruled out
participating in negotiations with Iran unless it stopped uranium
enrichment. But the decision to send senior U.S. diplomat William Burns
was described as a positive move by the Iranian foreign minister.
Foreign Minister Babacan stressed the importance of talks rather than conflict to resolve the current Iranian tensions.
and consultations are necessary to build confidence. We stress the
importance of dialog in all of our meetings. We wish for the process to
continue successfully, he said.
Mottaki also welcomed reports
that Washington may open a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first
time since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
He said, I think
there might be an agreement both on the issue of opening a U.S.
interest protection bureau in Iran and on the issue of direct flights
The U.S. State Department Thursday declined to confirm
or deny a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper that the Bush
administration has decided to set up a diplomatic "interests section"
in Tehran. The newspaper said the announcement would be made within
the next month.