No Turkey role in letter diplomacy: Iran
A worshipper holds an anti-U.S. President Obama placard in this file photo. REUTERS photoIran claimed Jan. 15 to have received a letter from the U.S. government about the Strait of Hormuz but dismissed news reports that Washington sent such a message through Turkish officials, according to semi-official Mehr news agency.
“America’s message over the Strait of Hormuz reached us through three channels. It was given to our U.N. representative, the Swiss ambassador conveyed it to the Foreign Ministry and also Iraqi President Jalal Talabani gave the message to Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, according to the ISNA news agency. “If we deem it is necessary to give a response to America’s message, then we will reply to it. The issue is being reviewed by Iran and it will be done in an appropriate way,” he said, without detailing the letter’s contents.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited Tehran on Jan. 4 and 5. U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, during a news briefing on Jan. 7, said Washington has started consultations with Turkey on what Iran’s messages were during Davutoğlu’s visit to Tehran.
“If the Americans imagined something, or Turkish friends told them something that they [U.S. officials] thought was a message, they have misunderstood it,” Majlis (Council) Speaker Larijani told Fars news agency in an interview published Jan. 15.
Washington has said it would not tolerate any closure of the Hormuz Strait, the crucial shipping lane for one third of all seaborne traded oil that Tehran has threatened to close if sanctions prevent it exporting oil. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said such a move would require a response.
Tehran and Washington have had no direct diplomatic relations since 1979, and the Swiss Embassy represents U.S. interests in Iran. Tehran said Jan. 14 it had sent a letter to Washington with evidence that U.S. intelligence services were involved in the assassination of a nuclear scientist last week.
Arrests in killing of nuclear scientist
Meanwhile, an Iranian news website is reporting several suspects have been arrested over last week’s killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. Ali Larijani, speaker of the Iranian Parliament, said the suspects were being interrogated and the investigation was continuing, according to an Associated Press report.
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an official in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, was killed in an explosion Jan. 12 after attackers attached a bomb to his car in Tehran. Iran accused the U.S., Britain and Israel of involvement. Washington denied any role in the assassination, and London condemned the killing of civilians. Israel has not commented publicly.