Turkey: Materials likely destined for Iran nuclear program seized (video)
Turkey is determined to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon, Namik Tan, Turkey's ambassador to the US, said Thursday. It intercepted materials Iran might have used to advance its nuclear program, he says.
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The military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Gen. Yahya Rahim-Safavi, told the Mehr news agency recently that Turkey had “committed a few strategic wrongs” by agreeing to the installation of a NATO early-warning antimissile system on its soil, by touting its secular political system to Arab countries including Egypt, and by ratcheting u pressure on Syria’s embattled president, Bashar al-Assad.Skip to next paragraph
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“The Turks are trading a wrong path,” Rahmin-Safavi said, adding that Turkey would have to “accommodate Iran” if it wanted economic ties to flourish.
Tan’s tone Thursday reflected mounting tension between the two countries as both angle for expanded influence in a roiling Middle East. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently took a tour of the Arab Spring countries – Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya – and promoted Turkey’s secular democracy as a model for Muslim countries.
The Iranian regime derided Turkey’s secularism as “unimaginable” for a Muslim country like Egypt. It also accuses Turkey of harboring opponents of Syria’s President Assad, who has been an ally of Tehran and provided it with a gateway for expanding its influence into the Mediterranean.
Tan said Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey last weekend was the most recent evidence of close relations between the two countries – one “more equal than other powers,” the other a “regional power” – and he added that US leaders “up to President Obama” understand Turkey’s security concerns and its policies in the region.
Mr. Biden assured his Turkish hosts that the US would not abandon Iraq, letting it sink into instability, Tan said. And noting that Turkey has lengthy borders with neighbors who present different kinds of challenges – Syria, Iraq, Iran – Tan said US officials express an understanding of Turkey’s military requests.
“They know what we want the US to deliver,” he said, “and it includes the drones.”