Erdogan: Support nuclear deal

Turkish PM urges Security Council members to accept accord with Iran.

May 22, 2010 04:23
2 minute read.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Turkey's prime minister is seeking international support for a deal under which Iran would ship much of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said Saturday he had written to the leaders of 26 countries saying the deal would resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran by way of diplomacy and negotiation. The countries included all permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Iran will submit an official letter to the IAEA on Monday morning conveying its acceptance of the uranium enrichment deal brokered by Turkey and Iran, state-run news agency IRNA reported on Friday, citing a statement by the country's National Security Council.

“Following the joint declaration by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the IAEA officially announced its readiness to submit our country’s letter to the IAEA Chief per paragraph six of the Teheran Declaration," the statement reportedly read.

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Also on Friday, IRNA quoted a top Iranian cleric as saying that the deal was a "powerful response" that "put the ball in the West's court." He reportedly stated that far from being a ploy meant to facilitate enrichment for military use, the deal should be seen as a confidence-building measure.

Ban: IAEA to make its own assessment on nuclear issue

Meanwhile in Turkey, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that the deal reached last week would "open the door to a negotiated settlement" between Iran and Western nations, according to a Reuters report.

Ban reportedly called the enrichment agreement "an important initiative in resolving international tensions over Iran's nuclear program by peaceful means." He went on to praise Turkey's role and cooperation with Brazil in negotiating the deal, stressing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have to make its own assessment concerning the issue at hand.

The deal – signed with Turkey and Brazil on Monday – would see Iran shipping its low-enriched uranium for further enrichment in Turkey, to be returned as fuel rods that could not be used for a nuclear weapons program without first being reprocessed.

While the new arrangement would see a similar amount of uranium shipped abroad as in a deal proposed in October by the P5+1, Iran has since produced sufficient additional low-enriched material to leave it with enough to make such a weapon even if it sends the originally agreed on amount abroad. In addition, Iran has signaled it intends to keep enriching uranium to a higher level in the meantime.

Hilary Leila Krieger and E.B. Solomont contributed to this report.

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