Erdogan: No need to strike civilian nuke program

In visit to Tehran, Turkish PM says any wise man against nuclear arms; No one should oppose peaceful nuclear activities.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
March 28, 2012 19:00
1 minute read.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

 
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Iran's leaders in Tehran on Wednesday, speaking out against  any attack on a country "pursuing a peaceful nuclear program," Iranian state news agency, IRNA reported.

IRNA quoted Erdogan as saying any wise man is against the use of nuclear technology as arms and there should be no opposition to peaceful nuclear activities.

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Erdogan held talks about Iran with US President Barack Obama on Sunday in South Korea, raising speculation Turkey was taking a message from Washington to Tehran - although a Turkish official dismissed that.

Obama said in Seoul there was time to resolve the dispute through diplomacy but the window was closing. Iran says it has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program but the US and its allies suspect it is trying to develop atomic weapons.

"There is no new message on the nuclear issue," the Turkish official said. "Turkey is not the messenger. That is just speculation. Our message is what we have said many times before."

Turkey has offered to host the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries which Salehi and Western diplomats say are expected to take place on April 13. No location has yet been confirmed.

"We have offered to host the meeting but it's not important where it takes place, only whether it is successful," the official said.



Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat

Wednesday's talks also concern economic cooperation. Trade between the two states has rocketed to $16 billion dollars over the last ten years. Iran is keen to build trade relations to minimize tough new sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union against its financial and energy sectors.

In a joint news conference with Iranian vice president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Erdogan said the trade goal was $35 billion dollars by 2015, the Iranian state news agency reported.

Iran and Turkey have agreed to appoint mutual special envoys to further cooperation between the two neighbors.

Such a policy risks relations with the West. Last week Ankara failed to secure an exemption from Washington on its purchase of Iranian crude oil.

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