Posts Tagged 'Erdogan'

Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement aims to revive fuel swap deal”

The tripartite agreement signed by Iran, Brazil and Turkey could revive the nuclear fuel swap deal but leaves specific arrangements to be negotiated at a later date. Analysts point out that since the original October agreement, Iran has already enriched its uranium to 20% and is estimated to have increased its LEU stockpile to around 2,300 kg (ISIS, Carnegie Endowment). Iran has also announced that it will continue enriching uranium to 20% despite the new agreement (Guardian). However, some analysts believe that Iranian leaders are now more united in their support for the fuel swap (Council on Foreign Relations).

“US dismisses new agreement, announces draft sanctions”
Washington quickly responded to the tripartite agreement by presenting a draft UN sanctions resolution against Iran. The US response is being seen as a sharp blow to the efforts of Turkey and Brazil (Washington Post, Gary’s Choices) and has also generated criticism at the ongoing NPT Review Conference (Guardian, Acronym Institute).
The draft resolution is being backed by all P5 members, and some analysts say the provisions have been watered down to gain Russian and Chinese support (Washington Institute for Near East Policy). Iran has stated it could cancel the fuel swap deal if new sanctions are imposed (Reuters).

“Iran deal a high-profile opportunity and risk for Turky, Brazil”
The tripartite agreement is the result of extensive diplomatic efforts by Brazil and Turkey, with the leaders of both states personally visiting Tehran to finalize the deal. Both states are members of the UNSC and are opposing the new sanctions push.
Brazil’s expanding international presence in Africa and the Middle East is being attributed to its long-term aim to establish itself as a representative of developing countries and promote a more equitable world order (Council on Foreign Relations). Turkey is also pursuing an aggressive diplomatic policy to establish itself as a major regional player (Christian Science Monitor, RIA Novosti), but skeptics believe Iran is simply using Turkey and Brazil in a bid to avoid sanctions (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).


Weekly roundup

Articles and reports from the past week
“Turkey, Brazil step up mediation efforts ahead of visits to Tehran”

Turkey is hoping to host a meeting between Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Both parties have expressed interest. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Brazilian President Lula da Silva will visit Tehran this week (Daily Star, Zaman).
Paulo Sotero argues that despite domestic opposition, da Silva is risking Brazil’s international reputation to build his own personal legacy ahead of the end of his presidential term (Foreign Policy).

“Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities: a net assessment”
A new IISS assessment of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities concludes that Iran would likely need at least 4 years to deploy missiles capable of targeting Western Europe and more than a decade to target the US east coast (Reuters). The authors also argue that the missile program is not suited to conventional, biological or chemical warfare (Guardian).
A US Department of Defense assessment last month stated that with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the US by 2015 (Department of Defense). Yousaf Butt argues that US strategy focusing on missile defense systems is not only ineffective but “dangerous and destabilizing” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists).

Iran nuclear standoff persists after dinner meeting, U.S. says (Global Security Newswire)
US officials state that last week’s dinner attended by diplomats from Iran and the UNSC states did not resolve tensions and shows that Iran is concerned about new UN sanctions .

“Critics doubtful of effectiveness, neutrality of Turkish mediation”

“Critics doubtful of effectiveness, neutrality of Turkish mediation”
February 11-17, 2010
     Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Tehran on Tuesday in an effort to salvage the nuclear fuel swap deal. Hooshang Amirahmadi believes Ankara is the only stakeholder positioned to provide mediations in US-Iran relations, while William Lucas argues that Ankara is in a “no-lose” situation in terms of its credibility with both Tehran and Washington (Today’s Zaman).
     Semih Idiz disagrees, writing that Ankara risks isolation among its Western allies with its close ties to Tehran and expected abstention from any UNSC votes on sanctions. Idiz accuses Ankara of being an “advocate” of Tehran rather than a neutral broker and believes that deadlock on the fuel swap deal is limiting Ankara’s role to that of a messenger, rather than an effective mediator and consultant, between the West and Iran (Hurriyet).
     Turkey has been facing steady criticism for what some see as a shift toward an anti-Western “Islamist” foreign policy. Iran has indicated its willingness to conduct a fuel swap in Turkey, though it earlier rejected the need for third-party mediation on the nuclear issue.
Today’s Zaman | Hurriyet

“Despite rhetoric, Turkey’s regional ties could benefit Western interests”

“Despite rhetoric, Turkey’s regional ties could benefit Western interests”
October 29-31, 2009
     On a visit to Tehran, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan defended Iran’s nuclear program and criticized sanctions, fueling ongoing speculation that Turkey is “leaving the West”. However, Gulnur Aybet argues that Turkey’s improving relations with Iran are based not on Islamic identity politics but on the need to secure gas supplies for the Nabucco pipeline [previously covered here] (Today’s Zaman). Turkey hopes to increase its growing trade with Iran, China and Russia by switching to payments in national currencies instead of US dollars (Daily Star).
     The Christian Science Monitor’s editors, while giving credit to Ankara’s intention to act as a regional mediator, criticize its “emotional, populist condemning” of Israel in favor for stronger relations with “wily, autocratic Iran” (Christian Science Monitor). Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett praise Ankara’s regional diplomacy for its success over recent years, arguing that Ankara is serving Western interests better than Washington by seeking to ensure the success of the Nabucco pipeline. The Leveretts add that Jerusalem need Ankara’s support, not the other way around (Politico).
Today’s Zaman | Daily Star | Christian Science Monitor | Politico

Related posts:
“Turkey asserts independence from Israel, NATO”
“Nuclear-armed Iran, US missile defense could topple Turkey’s balancing act”

“Nuclear-armed Iran, US missile defense could topple Turkey’s balancing act”

“Nuclear-armed Iran, US missile defense could topple Turkey’s balancing act”
September 25-27, 2009
     In a chapter on Turkey in the Stimson Center’s Unblocking the Road to Zero project, Henri J. Barkey argues that a regional arms race triggered by an Iranian nuclear weapon could strengthen nationalist sentiment in Turkey for nuclearization. Barkey writes that despite Ankara’s efforts to strengthen ties with Tehran and establish itself as a “gateway between East and West”, a nuclear-armed Iran would force Ankara to either a) go nuclear despite the technical hurdles and the risk of damaging ties with the US and Europe; or b) strengthen its existing security ties with the US and Europe, perhaps while engaging in regional diplomacy to isolate Tehran (Stimson Center).
     Ankara, which was initially expected to host the upcoming P5+1-Iran talks, recently announced its intention to spend at least $1 billion on a missile defense system, likely from the US (Global Security Newswire). This has sparked debate in Turkey over the negative implications for Turkey’s close ties with Iran and how much control the US would have over such systems (Journal of Turkish Weekly). Although the purchase has not been linked with Washington’s new missile defense system [previously covered here], Yigal Schleifer suggests that participation in a theater missile defense plan could strengthen Turkey’s position in NATO and accelerate EU accession (Eurasianet).
     Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans to visit Tehran next month to discuss the nuclear issue. Erdogan voiced his opposition to any military strike against Iran and argued that Israel’s nuclear program should also be scrutinized (Agence France-Presse).
Stimson Center | Global Security Newswire | Journal of Turkish Weekly | Eurasianet | Agence France-Presse