Friday, May 14, 2010

U.S. Shuts Down Turkey's Iran Initiative

The U.S. is apparently dead serious about shutting off Iran's avenues of negotiation.

Case in point: putting the kibosh on Turkey's initiative to midwife the LEU for fuel plates swap for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Courtesy of Hurriyet/AFP, the tick-tock is reproduced below.

I would think it would be difficult for the United States to justify discouraging Erdogan for going to Iran for more jaw-jaw.

What's the worst that could happen? A deal?

I'm interested in what nature of arguments and inducements were deployed to get Turkey's Prime Minister Erodgan to backtrack.

I expect that Secretary Clinton's position was that positive movement on the Turkish initiative would undercut the magnificent NPT Revcon now going on in New York.

The conference is supposed to reach its climax in a couple weeks with a nuclear-lions-lie-down-with-nuclear-lambs dogpile combined with a condemnation of Iran, hopefully with Israel doing more than just peeping at the keyhole.

Maybe Erdogan thought better of going up against President Obama's cherished global security strategy and promised to soft-pedal his initiative.

If this is the case, the U.S. will probably have to redouble its efforts for a successful NPT review.

After all, Turkey, in addition to being the author of the TRR swap idea and a neighbor of Iran, claims leadership of the Turkic Islamic bloc and a share in the business of ordering affairs in the Muslim world.

Also, it's a non-permanent member of the Security Council this year and a negative Turkish vote on sanctions--accompanied by some pointed questions on why Prime Minister Erdogan was urged to abandon a peace-making initiative that showed considerable promise--are embarrassments that the Obama administration might be keen to avoid.

May 13

Turkey is still considering whether its prime minister should go to Iran for joint talks with Brazil's president over Tehran's nuclear program, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Thursday.

Ankara's decision will depend on the outcome of contacts with Iranian and Western officials, including a planned telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Davutoğlu said on the Habertürk television channel.

"The matter is not to just hold a three-way meeting. We want to get results if such a meeting is to be held," he said.

May 14

Tehran is not cooperating with the rest of the world on its nuclear program and is merely seeking to delay international sanctions, the U.S. secretary of state told Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call is widely seen as an effort to fend off a Turkish-Brazilian call for more negotiations on Iran’s controversial energy program.

May 14

Turkey's prime minister said Friday he was unlikely to go to Iran for joint talks with Brazil's president because of Iran's failure to try to resolve the row over its nuclear program.

The United States, meanwhile, has warned Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's upcoming visit to Tehran may be Iran's last chance to engage the world over its nuclear program before new U.N. sanctions are imposed.

Turkey had expected Iran to confirm a commitment to a proposed deal to hand over its low-enriched uranium in return for processed fuel for research reactor, with Turkey as a possible venue for the swap, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters.

"It seems that a trip to Iran on Monday is no longer possible for me as Iran has not taken that step on the issue," he said. "If necessary my foreign minister may go, or I may go later," he added. Erdoğan said Turkey had "asked for a statement of determination" from Iran. "Together with Brazil, we wanted to make a contribution to the process," he said.

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