Mullen and Turkey's Isik Kosaner 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
ANKARA, Turkey — The United States' top military officer stressed on Saturday the need for Turkey to help enforce United Nations sanctions against Iran aimed at deterring the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
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Turkey voted against the US-backed sanctions against Iran in June, insisting that its neighbor's nuclear program is peaceful, despite fears that Teheran might be seeking to develop nuclear arms. Turkey has, however, stated that it will abide by the sanctions.
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in the Turkish capital he did not plan to "question or rebut" Turkey over the vote and welcomed Turkey's stated intention to abide by those sanctions.
The UN approved a fourth round of sanctions against Iran in early June over accusations that Teheran is seeking to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies its nuclear program is militaristic in nature and says it has a right to conduct uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes.
Mullen said that both countries agree that Iran should not achieve "a
nuclear weapons capability," and need "to do all that we can to ensure
Mullen arrived in Ankara Friday to meet with his new Turkish
counterpart, Gen. Isik Kosaner, who took office on Aug. 27. He also met
with Turkey's prime minister and defense minister. No statements were
released after those meetings.
Mullen praised Turkey, NATO's sole Muslim member state, for its role in
Afghanistan and said the United States would welcome any additional help
it can provide.
Turkey currently holds the rotating command of the international
peacekeeping force guarding the Afghan capital, while Turkish
instructors are training the Afghan army and police force.
"We would like Turkey to sustain all of those efforts," Mullen said.
"Any additional capabilities that Turkey can provide against the
training shortfall, that would certainly be of great help."
The US military chief said Washington has no plans to withdraw its
weapons from Iraq through Turkey, though the US military has sought
Turkish permission to transport some noncombat equipment from Iraq
through its territory.
Turkey has said it looks favorably on the passage of such equipment and
technical material, but not arms, which would require parliament's