Turkey Offers to Negotiate with Iran

In another show of Turkey emerging as a Middle East power broker, the country reiterated its offer on Tuesday to act as a diplomatic middleman toward Iran.

“The solution for Iran’s nuclear program is through negotiations and the diplomatic process,” stressed Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, during a press conference in Tehran.

Turkey, which has resisted an American-orchestrated push for a renewed round of sanctions against Iran, “is ready to act as an intermediary in the issue of uranium exchange,” said Davutoglu, “and hopes to have a fruitful role in this.”

The US State Department declared on Monday that it is still interested in a nuclear fuel agreement with Iran but talks have deadlocked over the country’s insistence that it hand over only enriched uranium stocks as the fuel is supplied, and that the exchange take place on its own soil.

Turkey, which currently sits on the United Nations Security Council, is not alone in opposing further sanctions against Iran. Notably, American secretary of state Hillary Clinton returned empty handed from Brazil last month where she tried to gather support. China and Russia, which both have veto power in the Council, are as of yet undecided on the issue, although Beijing recently instructed its diplomats to work with their American counterparts in New York to come to an arrangement.

Turkey’s offer to mediate may carry greater weight however. It has cautiously developed a working relationship with Syria in recent years while building a strategic partnership with Russia. These two states may be counted among Iran’s few, lukewarm friends. Combined they, rather than China, should be able to get Iran to come to the table.