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Turkey Flays Iran For Changing Nuclear Talks Venue

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come down heavily on Iran for its proposal to hold next week's nuclear talks with the Western powers in Damascus or Baghdad instead of Istanbul as suggested earlier.

"The offer going round at the moment, Damascus or Baghdad, is a waste of time, it means it won't happen, because they know the other side won't come to Damascus or Baghdad," Erdogan told a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.

"We have to be honest. Because of the lack of honesty they (the Iranians) are continually losing their international prestige," he was quoted by Turkish media as saying.

Erdogan's comments indicate that the proposed talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program are unlikely to take place as Iran is not "sincere" about a dialog with the West on the controversial issue.

Tensions between neighbors Turkey and Iran rose this week after a senior Iranian figure questioned holding the talks in Istanbul after Turkey hosted the 'Friends of Syria' meeting in the same city last week. A staunch Syrian ally, Iran is strongly opposed to ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite international call for quitting him power.

Political analysts believe that it would be embarrassing for Iran to hold the talks in Istanbul so soon after the 'Friends of Syria' meet which called for stronger sanctions against the Assad regime to force him to step down.

Iraq on Wednesday expressed willingness to host the talks following a request from a visiting Iranian delegation. Of late, Iraq is coming closer to the Islamic Republic as Shias headed governments of both the countries.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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