21:28 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Foreign Policy Analyst: 'Turkey Could Act as a Mediator Between Iran and the United States'

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    US hostility towards Iran and tensions in relations with Turkey have been pushing the two neighbours closer together. After holding talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Iran last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara assesses the situation in light of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

    The US withdrew from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) last year and slapped Iran with sanctions that primarily target the country's main source of income - its oil exports. While tensions continue to rise between Ankara and Washington, the US has demanded that Turkey cancels its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

    Sabir Askeroğlu, coordinator of foreign policy in the Center for Iranian Studies (IRAM) pointed out that the visit by the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry took place at the invitation of the Iranian side, and recalled that Russia's energy delegation also visited Iran, on the eve of Cavusoglu's trip.

    According to the expert, Iran's recent diplomatic activity shows that Tehran is searching for a way out of the current situation under tougher American sanctions.

    “From Iran's perspective, there are two main countries that can ease the situation from an economic standpoint- Russia and Turkey. Tehran needs to conduct serious, detailed negotiations with these countries. This is the main reason for the Iranian invitation to Cavusoglu. We can view this in light of Iran’s search for ways out of sanctions pressure,” Askeroğlu said.

    The expert also alluded to the significant escalation of tensions between the US and Iran in the past month and noted the lack of desire on the part of both parties to make any concessions.

    “Turkey’s position on the need to de-escalate the situation in the region is well known. It opposes any moves that could lead to a serious clash between the sides and may make efforts to convince Tehran of this. Earlier this month, Germany's Foreign Minister travelled to Iran, then the Prime Minister of Japan paid a visit, but these visits did not bring significant progress on the issue of holding serious negotiations,” said Askeroğlu.

    When asked whether Cavusoglu's visit could be viewed as a sign of Turkey’s support for Iran in defiance of the United States, the expert said: “I don’t think that the visit of the foreign minister should be interpreted in this way. Still, Turkey which maintains close relations with Iran may try to convince the Iranian authorities not to cross the line beyond which there will be a threat of military action. Turkey could act as a mediator between Iran and the United States since they do not seem ready to come to a mutual negotiating table.”

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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