With nine days to go, Iran still has not agreed on a location for talks with world powers over its nuclear program, Western officials said Wednesday but suggested Istanbul remained the most likely venue. The officials — from the European Union and a Western country that will be at the planned meeting — dismissed calls from Tehran to hold the meeting in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon or China as brinkmanship. Iran's suggestions of alternative sites raised the possibility of complications to get talks under way as expected on April 13 between Iran and envoys from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany. It also could bring accusations of stall tactics by Iran's leaders. Iran's foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Wednesday that Istanbul was Iran's first choice as a venue. It has now been publicly cited by the U.S. and others as the site of the talks. But Salehi appeared to leave open the possibility, however small, that the negotiations could shift to another location. "Holding talks in Baghdad, and also China, as venue has been out there," Salehi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting in Tehran. "This is a course that both sides need to agree on ... Istanbul was our initial proposal as the venue for the talks. The Europeans initially rejected but then agreed. At the same time, we had other countries in mind." The possibility of other locations also was raised by Mohsen Rezaei, a former Revolutionary Guard commander and now spokesman of Iran's Expediency Council. On Monday, he suggested Baghdad, Damascus, or Beirut, Lebanon. His comments reflected frustration with Turkey, a recent ally that has moved to reduce critical oil shipments from Iran and agreed to host a NATO defense shield radar that would send a warning if the Islamic Republic fires missiles. Iran and Turkey also disagree on how to end the conflict in Syria, with Tehran rejecting Turkish calls that Syrian President Bashar Assad step aside. "Given that our Turkish friends reneged on some agreements, it is better that Iran's talks ... are held in a friendly country. Therefore, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut are better venues for holding the talks compared to Istanbul," the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Rezaei as saying.