AFP: The United States said Thursday that it still expected Iran's talks with six powers on the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear program to go ahead next week, despite a dispute over the venue.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Thursday that it still expected Iran's talks with six powers on the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear program to go ahead next week, despite a dispute over the venue.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said the talks would open April 13 in Istanbul. But Iran later said that Turkey was not an acceptable host after the NATO member cut oil imports from Tehran in response to US pressure.

"We are still expecting this to take place next week. But there's certainly some degree of urgency" in finalizing details, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

"It was our expectation that this was going to be in Istanbul," he said. "It's not for us to say one place over another, but it's important that we start to nail this down."

Toner said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was working with Iran to determine the details of the talks. Iraq has said that Iran approached it about holding the talks in Baghdad.

Iran last held talks with the six powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- in January 2011 with no results.

President Barack Obama's administration has been eager to resume diplomacy to avoid a military confrontation, amid speculation that Israel would decide to strike Iran if it determines that Tehran is going ahead with a nuclear bomb.

Clinton said Wednesday the United States wanted a "peaceful resolution" but that "the time for diplomacy is not infinite and all options remain on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

Iran says its sensitive uranium work is for peaceful purposes. US intelligence assessments have not determined that the clerical regime is building a nuclear bomb.

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