Iranian nuclear activity has revived debates about the efficiency and reliability of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime in general and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in particular. Furthermore, most Western countries regard Iran’s nuclear activities in the context of regional security, and of Islamism and anti-Americanism in the vulnerable and war-prone region of the Middle East. This is why Iran’s nuclear ambitions have attracted more attention than those of North Korea. Moreover, the importance of Iran’s nuclear activity is due to the possible future ramifications in the region. It is argued that Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (and perhaps Syria and Iraq) would pursue a national nuclear fuel cycle, or even develop a nuclear bomb, if Iran does not abandon its nuclear ambitions and this would be a nuclear nightmare for Israel and America. Proponents of this view point to different examples in the region to prove their point, including Egypt’s eagerness to reinvigorate its nuclear activities, Turkey’s reaffirmation of Iran’s right to use peaceful nuclear energy, Syria’s suspicious activities in the destroyed Al Kibar complex,1 and Saudi Arabia’s undeclared negotiations with Pakistan on the nuclear issue. To Western
Turkey’s Emerging Role as a Mediator on Iran’s Nuclear Activities
The international community is worried about the security implications of Iran’s nuclear activities. Although it has been argued that Iran is very close to make a nuclear bomb, the results of the latest official reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and some American intelligence institutions demonstrate that Iran is not reluctant to consider the concerns of the international community in its decisions. One of the main policies of great powers is to cooperate with regional actors, like Turkey, to persuade Iran to be more flexible in its nuclear policy and particularly in its uranium enrichment activity. The historical mistrust between Iran and the great powers reinforces the necessity of having other regional actors act as mediators and countries like Turkey can play an important role in this context. The governing AKP’s mediation policy in the regional level is a catalyst to Turkey’s attempts to mediate between Iran and the 5+1 Group, although mediation can have its own difficulties.
Western powers have lost their former confidence in Iran’s intentions and behavior and this is why they are suspicious about Iran’s current motives.
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