We used to receive invitations from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara from time to time, sit and talk and sometimes they would ask us question and at times we would ask them questions. After relations entered “crisis mode,” particularly in the last five years, these invites ceased. This practice has been ended most likely to avoid “difficult questions.”
If I remember correctly, it was 2009. Back then, similar to today, Iran was conducting operations to develop nuclear weapons. Then U.S. President Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of state was someone named Philip Gordon. To make it easy, his name was shortened to Phil. Gordon, who was the highest-level official to carry on the U.S. Department of State’s relations with Turkey had come to Ankara and, this time, we received an invitation for a question and answer session.
The majority of Gordon’s speech was on Iran’s nuclear operations and the threats these operations posed for the Middle East. So, I asked a question I thought he would know the answer to:
“We are able to understand the kind of dangers Iran’s nuclear weapon development operations pose for our region, but Israel already possesses nuclear weapons. Do you not think these weapons are a threat?”
Gordon was slightly taken aback by this question.
He must have thought at that moment that saying, “No, it does not produce a threat,” would not be a convincing answer so he threw the ball in Obama’ court. He said, “President Obama is taking care of this matter.” Then when he brought the topic to Iran again, I interrupted and asked a shorter version of the same question: “So, do you think that Israel’s nuclear weapons are not a threat?” He said, “Like I said, the president is taking care of this matter,” and closed the topic.
On the way out from that meeting, rather than Gordon’s answer to my questions, I became fixated on the attitude of a Turkish journalist right across me who threw me a “How can you ask such a question?” glance for asking such a question.
Even though Iran does not deserve to be looked at with compassion
U.S. President Donald Trump stepped in front of the microphones yesterday to announce his Iran decision, which was now an “open secret.”
He said, “Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime.”
While Trump announced his decision, which he once again turned into a little performance, and signed the presidential memorandum reinstating the sanctions, the new “A team,” known to be directed by the Israeli lobby, was watching him by the door as if they were on military duty.
Iran got caught in Washington’s decision at a very bad time. The country’s economy is in a terrible state. Most recently, when the Iranian currency faced a heavy new loss against the dollar, they switched to the fixed exchange rate system.
The country’s social explosion is being delayed with stringent measures only. As it is one of those responsible in the first degree for the blood bath in Syria, as it contributed in the first degree to pushing Syria into the Stone Age with Persian nationalism and sectarian solidarity, contrary to Islamic principles despite its name being the Islamic Republic, there aren’t many in the region who will approach Iran with compassion. But this situation, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicated, is not going to save the U.S. from being labelled as the country that “breaks deals as it wishes.”
This is the first. Second, the nuclear weapons that Israel possesses and nobody questions are going to continue to threaten the region at least as much as the weapons Iran plans to develop. This is just one more reason that shows the legitimacy of, “The world is bigger than five.”
How will new sanctions effect Turkey?
After threatening Iran, Trump made another announcement to frighten those who might attempt to violate the new embargos he is going to apply:
“Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.”
Everybody must have questioned whether there is an insinuation here aimed at Turkey. Doesn’t the whole world know that the main topic of the ongoing Reza Zarrab case in New York is the accusation that the U.S.’s Iran embargo was violated by Turkey?
Hence, the statement about any nation that may help Iran could be considered to refer to Turkey as well.
As presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın indicated yesterday, Ankara is going to make a decision after seeing which items the U.S. embargo on Iran consists of.
Let us end with a warning:
Election terms have a blinding aspect. Ahead of June 24, Turkey does not have the luxury to focus on the elections alone and close its eyes to such critical developments.