News / Middle East

Iran President Says Nuke Sanctions Have Failed

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles as he addresses the media during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, 24 Dec 2010
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiles as he addresses the media during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, 24 Dec 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is attending an Eurasian economic conference in Istanbul where attendees committed themselves to greater economic cooperation. But such commitments come as Turkey's allies in Europe and the U.S. are looking to Ankara to support them in isolating Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

At a packed press conference Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared U.S.- led attempts to stop his country from developing nuclear power a complete failure. He also said sanctions against his country were doomed to fail and went on to praise the Economic Cooperation Organization, or ECO, for offering new ways for countries in the region to develop their economies.

"Under the leadership of Turkish President Abdullah Gul we have reached an agreement  to enhance and organize deeper economic cooperation," he said. The Istanbul summit will result in countries reaching a new level of economic cooperation.

Leaders and delegations from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Central Asian countries also attended the trade bloc's summit, which aims to promote regional economic development and cooperation among member states.

Tri-national development bank


Earlier, President Gul said ECO is committed to expanding the tri-national development bank between Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.

There is a determination to establish an increase of 20 percent trade. The Eco-Trade and Development Bank, which is one of the fundamental dynamos for economic activities, has been founded.   This bank has a capital of paid $230 million, and its center is in Istanbul. The partners are Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, he said.

But it remains unclear whether the bank enforces European and U.S. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The United States, other Western countries and Israel fear that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, an allegation Tehran has steadfastly denied, saying its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes.

Ankara claims it's only bound by U.N. sanctions against Iran'd nuclear program. Turkey's islamic rooted government argues that it can play an important role both as a facilitator and mediator  between Tehran and Washington and Brussels.

Uneasiness

Discussions between Iran and what is known as the P5+1 - the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council  plus Germany -- are to be held in Istanbul in January.

But Ankara's deepening economic cooperation with Tehran can only add to the growing unease among it's western allies, says political scientist Soli Ozel.

"Turkey tries to be all things to all people and I think its reaching a  limit," he said.  "And whether or not Turkey overplays it hand or necessarily  undermines the sanctions regime that is going to be more and more the  question that will be raised and then at one point it will have to make a decision."

Free trade and visa free zone

Observers say decision time is also looming on another of Ankara's foreign policy initiatives: that of it developing a free trade and visa free zone with its Middle Eastern neighbors.  

Already Iranians and Syrians enjoy visa free travel and Ankara has said its looking to include Iraq in the agreement. Turkish media have already compared it  to the EU's border-free Schengen zone. But the rapid pace of the scheme has led to concerns that it will complicate Turkey's EU membership aspirations.

But Ergemen Bagis, Turkish minister for EU membership, dismissed such concerns. "If you are not ready to lift visas to our citizens then why are you interfering with our visa relations with other counters?," he said.

Bagis is referring to the EU's continued refusal to ease visa requirements for Turks traveling to the Europe. Turkey's bid to join the EU has come to a virtual halt due to the  ongoing dispute over the divided island of Cyprus and staunch French opposition. The stagnant membership bid is in stark contrast to Turkey's rapidly developing relations with it Eastern and Middle Eastern neighbors, including Iran,  which the ECO summit has brought to the forefront.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid