Efforts by Turkey and Brazil to broker an arrangement whereby Iran would ship enriched uranium to Turkey and probably avoid a fourth, more severe round of United Nations sanctions, appears to have borne fruit.
The Turkish online English language news outlet, Hurryiyet Daily News has a very useful account of Turkey’s role in this development.
It appears that a nuclear-exchange deal with Iran is finally in the making. This raises the positive prospect of reduced tensions in the region and allays the threat of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities that would have had seriously negative global repercussions.
The proposal by non-permanent United Nations Security Council members Turkey and Brazil concerning the exchange of enriched uranium on Turkish soil was finally accepted by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government in Iran over the weekend, following a series of mixed signals from Tehran that had started to anger officials in Ankara as well.
“After a final agreement is signed between Iran and the Vienna group, our fuel will be shipped to Turkey under the supervision of Iran and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency],” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told journalists in Tehran. “Then we will dispatch 1,200 kilograms of 3.5 percent enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium from the Vienna group.”
After describing some complex international implications and hurdles for Turkey, the Israeli Harretz says how, nonetheless now “Turkey will gain new status as a mediator, a status it will also be able to use in other conflicts in the region, and especially in the Israeli-Syrian peace process.”
A blog has been written in Village-Connections about how “nuclear-free” New Zealand is one country that could do some things to help support such efforts.
The current development of Turkey’s peacemaking role helps serve to underline the potential of doing so. New Zealand embassy staff in Ankara are no doubt following what is happening with keen interest. More could be done at little or no cost. New Zealand could usefully explicitly register an interest in these diplomatic developments, and embassy staff could ask about opening up interested conversations with relevant Turkish officials and politicians. A useful and tangible step the staff might take is to ask if they could be briefed directly on the developments.
At the same time, New Zealand could do similar in Washington, where, not too surprisingly, the United States remains sceptical. Their view was, according to the New York Times report Uranium Offer by Iran May Hinder Efforts on Sanctions
“Given Iran’s repeated failure to live up to its own commitments, and the need to address fundamental issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, the United States and international community continue to have serious concerns,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said in a statement. “While it would be a positive step for Iran to transfer low-enriched uranium off of its soil as it agreed to do last October, Iran said today that it would continue its 20 percent enrichment, which is a direct violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and which the Iranian government originally justified by pointing to the need for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.”
The British Independent points to the role of the Brazilian President, Lula da Silva.
The Independent describes him as “Lula: the deal-maker,” adding that
Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, may have pulled off what has eluded Washington for years – a deal with Iran.
His growing influence in world affairs is naturally making some in Washington uneasy. Brazil has strong business ties with Tehran. Some in the US, however, welcome his expanding role.
“We are always saying we don’t want to be the world’s policeman,” Wesley Clark, the former general and one-time US presidential hopeful, said last night. “So I think it’s great that they step up.”
The terrible circumstances of people wanting to live peaceful everyday lives in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and of NATO and other personnel also present, illustrate why it is important that diplomacy is made to work. What is needed, in the words of Winston Churchill, is “jaw, jaw, jaw” rather than “war, war, war.” Iran in particular must not be allowed to become another Iraq.
Villagers around the world need to look to support political leaders who want to work this way. Indeed, why couldn’t local villagers in more tranquil and comfortable parts of the world start using social and other media to build up direct, on-going relationships with villagers in conflicted areas, or potentially conflicted areas?
Perhaps including school-to-school relationships. Including also, where relevant, supporting projects to help villagers to acquire any needed communications technologies and build up the skills to use them? Such projects could perhaps more than anything else help local people everywhere to understand and relate to one another and help create the conditions for peaceful living. Or where there is already violent conflict, to help to bring it to an end rather more quickly.