- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
The Turkish- and Brazilian-brokered nuclear enrichment deal with Iran earlier this week was widely seen as a setback for the Obama administration’s nonproliferation agenda, and indeed the White House didn’t exactly shower the agreement with praise before continuing its push to slap new sanctions on Iran.
But according to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the whole thing was done with Obama’s encouragement. The National reports:
Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, however, credited Mr Obama’s policy of engaging with Tehran for Ankara’s success in pursuing a diplomatic solution. “[Obama] paved the way for this process,” Mr Davutoglu said during a news conference in Istanbul. Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been “encouraged” to pursue dialogue with Tehran by Mr Obama during a recent, high-level nuclear conference in New York.
While I’m sure Erdogan and Obama discussed Iran, it seems unlikely that anything that explicit was said. At a briefing on Monday — before Davutoglu’s comments — White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president had "not talked directly" with the leaders of Turkey or Brazil as the deal was being put together.
Turkey and Brazil are reportedly infuriated by the new U.S.-backed agreement on sanctions and Davutoglu’s suggestion that Obama was for the deal before he was against it isn’t going to sit well in Washingtion.
Hat tip: RFE/RL Transmission