Turkish Prime Minister Warns Attack On Iran Would Be 'Disastrous'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned over the weekend that an Israeli strike on Iran would have "disastrous" consequences for the Middle East, likely sparking a regional war, Turkish newspapers reported on Sunday. Turkey is a major U.S. ally in the region and Erdogan indicated that he had expressed his concerns to President Barack Obama. Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish daily Hurriyet as warning against the "disastrous" outcome of a possible Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, saying: "The entire region would be devastated if Israel strikes Iran." Erdogan also criticized the international community for keeping mum on Israel's alleged nuclear weapons, while threatening Iran over what he said was a peaceful nuclear program., "Israel has between 250 to 300 nuclear warheads. Nobody is discussing that," Erdogan said, adding: "Iran says they would not produce nuclear weapons. They are saying that they would produce a specific amount of enriched uranium rods and stop after that."


Turkey is set to host a new round of diplomatic talks between Iran and a group of world powers -- the U.S., France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany -- beginning on April 13. On Monday, Russia's foreign minister also strongly warned against a military attack on Iran, saying that a pre-emptive strike would violate international law. Sergey Lavrov said on a visit to Armenia that an attack on Iran would destabilize the region.
An end to a nearly decade-long nuclear standoff between Iran and major world powers will be possible if the United States and its European allies recognize Tehran's right to enrich uranium, a former Iranian negotiator said in an editorial.
"Talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), scheduled for next month, provide the best opportunity to break the nine-year deadlock over Iran's nuclear program," Hossein Mousavian, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, wrote in an editorial in the Boston Globe. Mousavian, now a visiting scholar at Princeton University in New Jersey, had been seen as a moderate when in the Iranian government. Although he is not currently a policymaker, such public presentations of Iranian thinking is rare. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and rejects U.S. and European allegations that it is secretly amassing the capability to produce atomic weapons. Iran has rejected Security Council demands that it halt enrichment and other sensitive nuclear work, saying it has a sovereign right to atomic energy.

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