Monday, November 16, 2009

Iran's Nukes: The Turkish Option

Via the World Politics Review blog, comes an interesting post from the blog Arms Control Wonk that dissects the recent talk about the possibility of a deal to send Iran's enriched uranium to Turkey. The basic idea would be to send the uranium to Turkey in a kind of "escrow" account, to be held until Iran receives its shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia.

The option of bringing in a trusted third country into the mix is an interesting one. Turkey and Iran certainly have been improving their relations in recent years and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from a very successful trip to Iran, where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and even the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The question is, though, if Iran truly "trusts" Turkey, in the sense that both are, at the end of the day, regional rivals and Tehran might be hesitant to enter into an agreement that gives Ankara an added amount of leverage over it (for more background on this, take a look at this previous post). From Ankara's perspective, if the Turkish option is accepted, then it would certainly validate Turkey's recent push to reach out to Iran and improve relations, despite some of the criticism that has led to.

[UPDATE -- Reports from Iran say Tehran has rejected the proposal of sending its uranium out of the country.]

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