AFP: Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting a nuclear swap deal with Iran would be unreasonable and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation.”
ANKARA (AFP) — Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting a nuclear swap deal with Iran would be unreasonable and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation.”
The swap deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil last week, does not amount to a thorough solution of the Iran nuclear standoff “but it is a step forward on resolving the swap issue, which is one of the important elements of the nuclear file,” foreign ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told reporters.
“It is true that the glass is half empty… but we say that further action should be now taken to fill it,” he added.
“It is unreasonable to reject the deal saying the glass is half empty.”
The spokesman criticised the stance of the United States, which submitted a draft resolution at the UN Security Council for tough new sanctions on Tehran, shortly after Iran, Brazil and Turkey announced the deal.
“Submitting the paper a day after the agreement was reached means that you prefer to turn a blind eye to certain developments… This leads to an absurd situation,” Ozugergin said.
The accord calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey and months later receive a supply of more highly-enriched uranium suitable for research and medical use.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Monday it had received Iran’s formal notification of the deal and would communicate the contents of the letter to the United States, France and Russia.
Western powers have been dismissive of the deal, arguing that it fails to allay key concerns about Tehran’s uranium enrichment operations and that the international community should keep up the pressure on Iran.
“If suspicions persist on enrichment… the parties should sit down and talk,” Ozugergin said.
“We are telling them to put the (swap) deal in their pockets and go on” talking.
He also hit back at criticism that the deal was technically flawed, notably suggestions that it failed to allocate enough time to produce the enriched uranium Iran would receive.
“We had contacts with Iran for the past eight or nine months… and we shared with third countries the main parameters of the talks. Is it now that they realise the fuel cannot be made within a year?” he said.
“There was time for technical considerations before Iran accepted the deal, but nothing much was said… Now it is our right, and Iran’s also, to expect the other side to show good will and give an appropriate response,” he said.
Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the Security Council, are opposed to fresh sanctions on Iran.
“We believe that a ground has been found to give further chance to negotiations,” Ozugergin said.
Ankara’s Islamist-rooted government, in power since 2002, has notably improved ties with Tehran, prompting discomfort in Israel, once a top regional friend, and raising eyebrows among Turkey’s NATO allies.