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No final word on Egypt hosting Iran, world nuclear talks: Diplomat

Egyptian diplomatic source reveals Cairo's final say on hosting nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 is uncertain

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 Jan 2013
Egyptian-Iranian Relations
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr during their meeting in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt did not take a final decision on hosting the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, an Egyptian diplomatic source told Egyptian state-run news agency MENA on Thursday.

Yet, the source stated Cairo will always welcome the concept of contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East.

"When I was in Egypt ... it was suggested that the next meeting be held in Cairo," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by ISNA on Wednesday. "This issue was welcomed by our dear friends in Egypt and Egypt will consult with the P5+1 for hosting this meeting."

Salehi told Al-Ahram daily newspaper in August that Tehran is keen on establishing relations of "friendship and brotherhood" with Egypt, adding that Iran hoped to restore "normal" ties after relations were terminated in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Such statement came ahead of his meeting with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi on 9 January to discuss the Syrian crisis in Cairo.

The last round of negotiations between Iran and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had ended last Friday in the capital Tehran with no deal, awaiting a second meeting on 12 February.

According to AFP, it was unclear what went wrong this time but in the past Iran has insisted that the agreement include clauses that could infringe on the IAEA's ability to conduct proper inspections.

Iran incessantly denies having worked on devoting nuclear energy for military purposes.

At their last meeting, held in Moscow in June, Tehran rejected P5+1 calls for it to scale back its nuclear enrichment activities, while asking for substantial sanctions relief.

The Islamic Republic's economy is currently struggling to survive with punitive measures adopted by the US and the EU targeting its key oil sector and access to international financial markets.

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