May 17th, 2010, 03:26 AM
Turkey says no case for new sanctions on Iran
Turkey said on Monday there was no justification for more UN sanctions on Iran after Tehran agreed to a nuclear swap deal, visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters on Monday.
"The swap deal, signed by Iran today, shows that Tehran wants to open a constructive path ... There is no more ground for new sanctions and pressures," Davutoglu said.
May 17th, 2010, 04:27 AM
Article from a daily newspaper in Turkey:
Experts believe Turkey on right track in Iran diplomacy
As Turkey, Brazil and Iran prepared to sit in Tehran on Sunday to seek a diplomatic solution as an alternative to looming harsh sanctions, the US warned Turkey last week of the danger posed by Iran’s attempts to buy time through discussing diplomatic solutions to growing concerns about its nuclear ambitions.
Turkey and Brazil have not lost their desire to push for diplomacy in Iran’s nuclear imbroglio. Regardless of whether Turkey is an honest broker for Iran or not, Turkey has almost no other choice. A trade volume exceeding $10 billion and Turkey’s increasingly normalizing relations with Iran put Turkey in a difficult situation to support the US-led push for sanctions.
“Turkey and Brazil have significantly raised their profile on this important issue, much to the surprise of Washington,” Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, said in an interview with Today’s Zaman. Implying that Turkey needs to make sure the timing of the diplomacy is appropriate and that Iran is ready to deal with the issue, Parsi said Turkey is dealing with a Washington whose focus is on sanctions, not diplomacy. “But the stakes are high -- sanctions will likely lead to confrontation, which is why Turkey cannot afford not to push for diplomacy,” Parsi said.
Turkey’s many years of diplomacy initially seemed to fail when Iran last week announced it had accepted Brazil’s proposal on a nuclear fuel deal. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey is playing a central role in Iran diplomacy. Mahmood Monshipouri, an associate professor at San Francisco State University, said that, while appearing keen on averting yet another round of sanctions, Iran’s ruling elites have come to consider Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration an honest broker. Recalling that Turkey’s leaders have consistently said imposing more sanctions on Iran is not the best option and that Iran’s nuclear self-sufficiency and its right to produce peaceful energy is legally warranted within the bounds of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agreements, Monshipouri said to defuse the tension, the Erdoğan administration has offered its good offices to serve as a conduit for diplomatic solutions. “Recent communications between the EU and Iran’s diplomats via Turkey point to a safe bet: A diplomatic breakthrough seems in the offing. When will this happen? Only time will tell,” the expert noted.
Stressing that Turkey can and should play a key role in this global dispute and that it has a real chance to mediate the dispute effectively, Hooshang Amirahmadi from Rutgers University said an Iran armed with nuclear weapons will not suit Turkey either.
Responding to concerns in Turkey over whether Turkey is on the right track in engaging with Iran, Amirahmadi said Turkey does not need to worry about Iran’s intention or whether its efforts will succeed as the world knows that talking, working and negotiating with the Islamic republic has not been easy and that no one expects Turkey to work any magic here.
“Any level of success will bring Turkey some level of international recognition while its failure will not do any damage to its prestige,” he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a blunt message to the Turkish foreign minister, telling him that Iran is not serious about accepting international demands to prove its nuclear program is peaceful as part of a US demarche to head off a joint Turkish-Brazilian effort that could help Iran avoid new UN sanctions over its suspect nuclear program.
“The argument that Turkey’s mediation offer will buy Iran time is not well. … Sanctions will not work and Iran can even under any level of sanctions do what it wanted to do,” Amirahmadi said. He said that in the absence of Turkey’s involvement and in the presence of sanctions, even less will be achieved and more time will be lost if the purpose is to get Iran to agree to halt its nuclear enrichment programs, even for a short while. The expert said he believes Iran is serious in arriving at a reasonable deal with its nuclear nemesis through Turkish mediation. Also ruling out claims that Iran is not serious in diplomacy, he said Iran will not deceive Turkey into a time-gaining play and that its intention to work with Turkey to reach an honorable deal with the West is good.
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