Russia, Turkey and Iran Meet, Posing Test for U.S. Diplomacy


From the New York Times:  Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran convened at a security summit meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday in a display of regional power that appeared to be calculated to test the United States, just days before a scheduled American-backed debate in the United Nations Security Council on imposing tighter sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

“If the U.S. and its allies think they could hold the stick of sanctions and then sit and negotiate with us, they are seriously mistaken,” [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] told a news conference, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV satellite broadcaster. European and American officials say the vote on sanctions could come as early as Wednesday. …

[Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin, speaking at the conference, said sanctions should not be “excessive” but gave no details on whether Russia would change its mind on the vote. He called Iran’s nuclear program peaceful, a characterization with which Washington disagrees.

“I hold the opinion that this resolution should not be unnecessary, should not put Iran’s leadership or the Iranian people into difficulty,” Mr. Putin said.

The conference reinforces the shifting alignments in this complicated area, where regional powers like Iran and Turkey, a NATO member, are emerging as bigger players.  (photo: Reuters)

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