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Turkey followed Obama's letter on Iran deal, FM says

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency | 6/10/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The letters U.S. President Barack Obama wrote to Turkey and Brazil laid the groundwork for the uranium swap agreement with Tehran, FM Davutoğlu has said.

The letters U.S. President Barack Obama wrote to Turkey and Brazil laid the groundwork for the uranium swap agreement with Tehran, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Wednesday.

Adding that a meeting with the U.S. leader in April also helped shape the deal, Davutoğlu said in a televised interview that “Turkey progressed step-by-step for the Tehran agreement.”

Davutoğlu said the letter sent to Turkey was the same as the one sent to Brazil, and the basic demands in the letters were met by the agreement he signed May 17 with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.

After key members expressed reservations about the Turkey- and Brazil-brokered deal, the 15-nation U.N. Security Council passed a new sanctions resolution against Iran on Wednesday. The resolution was approved with 12 votes in support of the sanctions, two against from Brazil and Turkey and one abstention from Lebanon.

[HH] Cost to Turkey

Davutoğlu said the peaceful use of nuclear energy is every country’s right and that Iran should behave transparently regarding its nuclear program and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

Pointing out that his country is “the only U.N. Security Council member neighbor to Iran,” Davutoğlu said, “Turkey is against nuclear weapons and wants a region free of nuclear weapons.”

He said sanctions against Iran would also have a cost to Turkey, which wants to see the restrictions lifted.

“Turkey and Iran's trade volume is around $10 billion, and it can rise to $30 billion if sanctions are lifted,” Davutoğlu said.

[HH] The swap deal

Under the deal inked by Turkey, Brazil and Iran, Tehran committed to send 1,200 kilograms of 3.5 percent enriched uranium to Turkey in return for receiving 20 percent enriched uranium from Western countries to be used as fuel for the nuclear research reactor in the Iranian capital.

Tehran would receive the enriched uranium in Turkey from the Vienna Group – the United States, France and Russia – and the IAEA.

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