Turkey's foreign minister said Wednesday that he did not support new UN sanctions against Iran, indicating there were still important holdouts as the Obama administration tries to win approval for a new resolution aimed at punishing the Islamic Republic over its nuclear activities.
China, which holds a veto on the Security Council, as well as Brazil and Lebanon, two other members on the 15-member body, also stressed the need for additional diplomacy.
"We don't want to see sanctions. It will affect us. It will affect the region," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.
Davutoglu declined to say how his government would vote when a sanctions measure comes to the Security Council, but his remarks suggest the Obama administration will have difficulty meeting its goal of new sanctions by the end of April, in order to demonstrate unified international opposition to Iran's program. Three previous sanctions resolutions on Iran had near-unanimous approval.
"We still think there is a possibility of a diplomatic solution," the foreign minister said.
Turkey has sought good relations with Iran because it is a major source of natural gas and an important influence in unstable countries that border Turkey — particularly Iraq.
Turkey also is skeptical of sanctions because such penalties seriously harmed the Iraqi economy and Turkish-Iraqi trade in the 1990s, while failing to dislodge President Saddam Hussein.