Iran General NewsNew Iran FM to make first foreign foray to...

New Iran FM to make first foreign foray to Turkey

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AFP: Iran’s new acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi is to accompany President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a regional summit in Turkey next week, his first foray abroad since taking up the job, the Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday.

TEHRAN, December 15, 2010 (AFP) – Iran’s new acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi is to accompany President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a regional summit in Turkey next week, his first foray abroad since taking up the job, the Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday.

“Mr Salehi will accompany the president on his visit to Turkey,” the Iranian ambassador in Ankara told Mehr. “It will be the first visit abroad by the acting foreign minister.”

Salehi, who was appointed on Monday after Ahmadinejad fired Manouchehr Mottaki in an apparent falling out over nuclear policy, retains his previous position as chief negotiator in talks on the issue with the major powers.

Turkey is to host the next round of those talks in Istanbul in late January after a first round in Geneva earlier this month.

The issue is expected to come up in Salehi’s talks with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey maintains good relations with neighbouring Iran and has attempted to broker a face-saving compromise in its protracted standoff with the West over its nuclear programme.

In May, it joined Brazil in negotiating a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran but the agreement was ignored by the United States, which pushed ahead with leading the UN Security Council in imposing new sanctions.

Ahmadinejad will be attending the December 23 summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation, which groups Iran and Turkey with Pakistan and Central Asian states.

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