Last updated: 11 January, 2012

Iranian parliament speaker set to visit Turkey

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani will begin an official visit to Turkey late on Wednesday, Turkish diplomatic sources told AFP.

Larijani will meet Thursday with Turkish parliament speaker Cemil Cicek, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and possibly with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, they said.

The talks with Larijani, a former nuclear negotiator, are expected to focus on Iran’s disputed nuclear progamme as the international standoff escalates between Tehran and world powers.

The United States has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran over its atomic programme, which the West believes masks a drive to develop atomic weapons.

Iran insists the programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

The European Union is expected to announce further sanctions of its own, including an oil embargo, at the end of this month.

Turkey has repeatedly said it is only bound by sanctions decided by the UN Security Council.

Turkey’s Davutoglu was in Tehran last week, when his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi said he would like to see a resumption of the nuclear talks with world powers last held in Istanbul a year ago.