Obama, Erdogan discuss Iran deal

US president reportedly stresses int'l community's "concerns."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
May 20, 2010 09:52
2 minute read.
US President Barack Obama at the Nuclear Security

Obama nuke summit 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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US President Barack Obama phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to discuss efforts to engage Iran diplomatically on the issue of its nuclear program.

The French news agency reported that Obama "acknowledged" the agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil, which owuld see Teheran shipping half of its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel produced in Turkey.

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The US reacted with little fanfare to the announcement, with officials in Washington and some of the other world powers involved in the standoff saying the deal reached with outside mediation by Turkey and Brazil failed to ease their concerns that Iran is ultimately intending to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

During Wednesday's phone call, Obama reportedly raised those concerns once more, telling Erdogan that the international community shared "continuing and fundamental concerns about Iran's overall nuclear program, as well as Iran's failure to live up to its international obligations."

On Tuesday, the US introduced a United Nations resolution aimed at Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, having won long-sought and pivotal support from China and Russia for new sanctions against its powerful Revolutionary Guard and new measures to try to curtail Iran's military, financial and shipping activities.


Iran dismissed the draft resolution as "illegitimate" on Wednesday, calling it a reactionary response to the Turkish-Brazilian deal.

"The draft resolution being discussed at Security Council has no legitimacy at all," the official IRNA news agency quoted top Iranian presidential adviser Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh as saying after a cabinet meeting.

US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice stressed that the draft resolution and the uranium swap deal have nothing to do with each other and told reporters that Iran's decision to continue enriching uranium to 20 percent intensifies its violation of sanctions and "eliminates any confidence-building potential."

The senior UN diplomat raised a number of questions about the Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement, noting that in its first paragraph it says that Iran has the right to enrich nuclear material, which is not explicitly authorized under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and is banned under previous UN Security Council resolutions.

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