Iraq's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Tehran has asked Baghdad to host the upcoming round of talks between the six world powers and Iran over its disputed nuclear program, instead of Istanbul.
The ministry said that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has received an Iranian delegation on Tuesday evening, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
"The delegation expressed Tehran's desire that Baghdad to host the international meeting on the Iranian nuclear file of the P5+1, " the statement said.
The talks group the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China) plus Germany, known as P5+1, as well as Iran.
"The (Iraqi) Foreign Minister welcomed the Iranian proposal and expressed Iraq's readiness to host the meeting, asserting that he will conduct the necessary contacts with the relevant parties about the proposal," the statement said.
On March 31, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the P5+1 and Iran have agreed on meeting in Turkey's Istanbul on April 13-14 with the aim of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
"We're going in with one intention: to resolve the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program," Clinton said.
The resumption of negotiations came after a more-than-one-year deadlock on talks over Iran's suspected nuclear program.
The last round of talks was held in Istanbul in January 2011 but ended up in vain. The round before that, in late 2010, was in Geneva.
The talks carry hopes of defusing a tense international showdown over Iran's nuclear activities that has sent oil prices soaring.
The UN has by now imposed four rounds of sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for bomb.
The European Union, the United States and some other countries have imposed an oil embargo as part of sanctions to pressure Tehran into resuming talks on the country's nuclear program. They have also imposed tough banking sanctions aimed at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil, which accounts for 80 percent of its foreign revenue.