Robin Pomeroy, Ramin Mostafavi
January 18, 2012
Iran said Wednesday it was in touch with big powers to hold fresh talks soon but the European Union denied it, with Britain saying Tehran had yet to show willingness for negotiations addressing suspicions that it trying to develop atom bombs.
A year after the last talks fell apart, confrontation is brewing as the EU prepare to dramatically intensify international sanctions against Iran with an embargo on its economically vital oil exports.
Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world’s seaborne oil exports, if it cannot sell its own crude, fanning fears of a descent into war in the Gulf that could inflame the Middle East.
Iranian politicians said U.S. President Barack Obama had expressed readiness to negotiate in a letter to Tehran, a step that might relieve tensions behind recent oil price spikes.
“Negotiations are going on about venue and date. We would like to have these negotiations,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters during a visit to Turkey.
“Most probably, I am not sure yet, the venue will be Istanbul. The day is not yet settled, but it will be soon.”
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the six powers, denied there were any fresh discussions with the Islamic Republic to organise a meeting.