In a bid to resolve the standoff between Iran and world powers over low-enriched uranium (LEU), Turkey is prepared to offer escrow service, storing LEU in its own territory under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a top Turkish diplomat said over the weekend. "We have a lot of political capital in Tehran, and in the past we helped defuse tension between Iran and world powers," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters en route to Spain to meet with his Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel Morations. He signaled that Turkey is willing to take up the IAEA suggestion that Iran send its LEU to Turkey, a friendly third country.
Telling how Turkey convinced Iran to send a delegation headed by Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili to meet with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who presided as moderator of the 5+1 group (the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany) delegation on Oct. 1, Davutoglu said the dialogue process had reached this point thanks to Turkish efforts and that talks should continue. He stated that last week he had telephone conversations with both IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian officials to confirm Turkey's willingness to act as a mediator on the issue in a major drive to prevent the disagreement from escalating into a full-blown crisis and help allay concerns on both sides. Davutoglu reiterated Turkey's policy regarding the nuclear arms issue, saying Ankara is, and has been, against all nuclear weapons, especially in the Middle East.
"No matter who possesses these deadly weapons, we are against it," he said, adding that every country has a right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, such as meeting legitimate energy needs. Davutoglu stressed that Turkey prefers negotiations to resolve outstanding issues between Iran and Western powers, saying that military means fall short of accomplishing goals and just complicate matters. "Let's give talks a chance and stick to negotiations," he added.
Source: Today's Zaman (Turkey), November 16, 2009
Date Posted: November 21, 2009