Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu today made clear his resentment about the tepid reaction most western governments had toward the deal his government and Brazil concluded with Iran yesterday on a swap of low-enriched nuclear materials, and Washington’s continued push to win a tough anti-Iran sanctions resolution from the Security Council.
Hurriyet Daily News reported today that:
- “The discussions on sanctions will spoil the atmosphere and the escalation of statements may provoke the Iranian public,” the Turkish foreign minister told a group of reporters after an official press conference in Istanbul.
“Our mandate was limited to striking a deal on the swap,” Davutoğlu said. “If reaching an agreement on the swap was not important, why would we spend so much time and energy on the issue?”
HT to China Hand, who had an excellent round-up about the whole issue on his blog yesterday.
The Hurriyet account continued:
- “With the agreement yesterday, an important psychological threshold has been crossed toward establishing mutual trust,” Davutoğlu said. “This is the first indirect deal signed by Iran with the West in 30 years.
Davutoğlu … objected to criticism over the amount of fuel that will be swapped. Critics of the deal argue that the 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium that Iran agreed to have stored in Turkey was an amount set in October, when the idea of a swap first about. Since then, they say, Iran has continued to produce more low-enriched uranium.
According to Davutoğlu, U.S. President Barack Obama recently sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan regarding the negotiations and the quantity mentioned in this letter was exactly 1,200 kilograms. The foreign minister said all relevant parties were kept informed at all stages of the negotiations with Iran and claimed that the early skeptical reactions stem from the fact that a successful deal was not expected.
“I think there is no problem with the text of the deal. The problem is that they were not expecting that Iran would accept,” he said. “They had a reflex conditioned on the expectation that Iran will always say no. That’s why they were a little bit caught by surprise.”
The account also notes that Davutoğlu “said the deal could not have happened had it not been for Obama’s multilateral engagement policies.”
But I do think Obama should have been paying a bit more attention to what the Turks and Brazil’s President Lula Da Silva were doing in this whole affair.
Interesting that Obama “recently” sent a letter to Turkish PM Erdoğan regarding the negotiations– but that then, over the weekend as the negotiations proceeded to their end-game, according to spokesman Robert Gibbs he made no effort at all to reach out to the two fellow heads of government who were conducting them with Iran.
This was especially disturbing, since both Turkey and Brazil are fellow members of the Security Council, along with the U.S. It is highly unlikely that novice diplomatist Hillary Clinton will be able to get much of what she wants in the world body if she continues to fundamentally disrespect the diplomatic heavy lifting undertaken by Erdoğan and Lula.
By contrast with Sec. Clinton, Davutoğlu is a person with rich credentials as both a theorist and a practicioner of the art of diplomacy. The fact that even he brought himself to express a bit of (thinly veiled) frustration with the stance of Washington indicates to me that the frustration elsewhere in the Turkish government must be running even more strongly.