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Entries in Recep Tayyip Erdogan (14)


Gaza LiveBlog: Israel Forces Attack Freedom Flotilla, Up to 19 Killed (31 May)

0755 GMT, 1 JUNE: Updates continue in our LiveBlog, "The Politics After the Attack", for Tuesday.

2330 GMT: The New York Times reports one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity concerning the future of Israeli-Palestinian talks mediated by Senator George Mitchell. In terms of the divide between the Israeli Government and the Obama Administration, the official said: “We’re not sure yet where things go from here.”

Mitchell is still expected to attend the Palestine Investment Conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday and Thursday.

2200 GMT: Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, head of the Israeli Navy, instructs the troops intercepting the Gaza flotilla:


Gaza Flotilla Video: Questions from Last Report Before Israeli Attack
Gaza Video: “If You’re Watching This, The Flotilla Has Been Attacked"

2110 GMT: The first result of the UNSC emergency meeting: Members urged Israel to lift its economic blockade of the Gaza Strip!

Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said the bloodshed would have been avoided if repeated calls on Israel to end the "counterproductive and unacceptable" blockade of Gaza had been heeded.

Most members of the 15-nation body joined the call for an investigation.

2030 GMT: IDF releases pictures of weapons found on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship.

1930 GMT: The opposition leader Tzipi Livni gave an interview to the Turkish channel, TRT. She said that "there was a need to stop these ships" which were "not on a humanitarian mission".


Gaza Flotilla Attack: Israel Line “We Are Sorry but It Was a Life-Threatening Situation!”

1915 GMT: Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu criticized Israel harshly at UNSC emergency meeting. Remarkably, he said:
This assault against 600 civilians from 32 countries can never be justified. We watched a live barbarian show.

Israel committed a crime. It is a crime committed by the state itself. Any state committing this crime will loose its legitimacy in the international arena.

The day when the line between terrorists and states blurred is today, a day leaving a bloody stain on the history of humanity.

1855 GMT: Speaking to Channel 10, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said:
Israel is a sovereign state and cannot accept the undermining of its sovereignty. Israel has stopped ships in international waters before and when ships refuse to accede to warnings and obey instructions, we have the right to board them under international law.

1845 GMT: Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was scheduled to meet with former US Secretary of State George Shultz on Monday, canceled his meeting. He said:
Israel is a democratic country with an obligation to defend its citizens and cannot condone the arrival of Gaza-destined goods and ships without inspecting them. The violent and provocative flotilla was backed by Hamas, whose support was that of terror and opposition to peace.

1830 GMT: IDF released a new statement:
The following is a summary of the number of injuries and casualties in today’s incident in which IDF naval forces were met with extremely violent resistance on board the Mavi Marmara.  According to the most recent reports, a total of seven soldiers were wounded – four soldiers were moderately wounded, of which two were initially in critical condition, as well as an additional three soldiers who were lightly wounded.  Among the violent activists, there were nine casualties as a result of the soldiers defending themselves.

It should be emphasized that both the State of Israel and the IDF made repeated calls to the flotilla, telling them that all goods and humanitarian aid could be transferred according to the secure and approved methods in place today, as is done on a near daily basis.  Unfortunately, this was not the case. IDF naval forces were met with premeditated violence, evident by the activists’ use of clubs, metal rods, and knives, as well as the firing of two weapons stolen from the soldiers, causing for defensive action on behalf of the forces who felt their lives were endangered.

1815 GMT: UN Security Council's emergency meeting started.

1730 GMT: The Mavi Marmara was docked at Ashdod. 500 activists on board will be arrested of deported.

1700 GMT: Finally, pictures of Mavi Marmara reached media after 15 hours. The ship is being escorted by Israeli Navy off the port of Ashdod.

1645 GMT: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he regretted deaths but also added that Israeli troops had right to self-defense.

1630 GMT: CNN correspondent Atia Abawi said: "Israeli government confirms that 25 activists are in stages of deportation and at least 50 are detained after not giving them identification".

1620 GMT: The details of the phone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama were given by the White House:
This morning between 10:00 and 10:15 AM CDT, the President spoke by phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He said he understood the Prime Minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today's events. They agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity. The President expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom are being treated in Israeli hospitals. The President also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible.

1605 GMT: Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that NATO's spokesman James Appathurai had stated that the organisation would be gathered extraordinarily, at the request of Turkey.

NATO issued a very short statement earlier today: "NATO is deeply concerned about the loss of life in this incident. We look forward to a further establishment of the facts of what has happened."

1600 GMT: IDF said Defne Y, the 5th ship in Gaza flotilla, cleared of its crew - Mavi Marmara currently being brought into Ashdod Port.

1555 GMT: Al Jazeera English correspondent Sherine Tadros reports, "We're hearing 14 activists have agreed to be deported and on way home;50 taken to prison in southern Israel resisting deportation."

1550 GMT: Pictures of wounded activists were released. Plastic handcuffs during the transport of heavily wounded ones are noteworthy.

1548 GMT: The United Nations Security Council will meet on Monday afternoon for an emergency session that will start at 1 P.M., New York time.

1545 GMT: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Chile: "This is a state terrorism."

1515 GMT: While on his way to Washington, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "This is clearly a piracy. Israel must apologize and answer. According to unconfirmed information, we have around 50 wounded and 10 martyries. No country is above the international law."

Meanwhile, tens of thousands people are protesting in front of Israel's Consulate General in Istanbul.

1500 GMT: Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Israel:
Israel has once again clearly demonstrated that it does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives through targeting innocent civilians. We strongly condemn these inhuman acts of Israel. This grave incident which took place in high seas in gross violation of international law might cause irreversible consequences in our relations.

Besides the initiatives being conducted by our Embassy in Tel Aviv, this unacceptable incident is being strongly protested and explanation is demanded from Israeli Ambassador in Ankara, who has been invited to our Ministry.

Whatsoever the motives might be, such actions against civilians who are involved only in peaceful activities cannot be accepted. Israel will have to bear the consequences of these actions which constitute a violation of international law.

May God bestow His mercy upon those who lost their lives. We wish to express our condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased, and swift recovery to the wounded.

1440 GMT: Israel's Portrayal. Amidst the rush of Israeli depictions of the attack --- with the continuing use of the word "lynching", now from the commandos who carried out the assault --- this story stands out from a "Ron Ben Yishai" in YNet:

Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapon.

1435 GMT: Washington's Reaction. The US statement, given by White House spokesman Bill Burton, is far more restrained than the UN denunciation of Israel (1330 GMT) and even Britain's expression of concern (1035 GMT). Burton said the Obama administration "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained" and officials are "currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy".

1430 GMT: The 4th ship in the flotilla is now being brought into port in Ashdod.

1420 GMT: The Israeli Line. The Israeli military has released its version of today's attack on the Freedom Flotilla, complete with an aerial video:


1410 GMT: Glenn Greenwald, in a bitter denunciation of the Israeli attack, offers an overview both of the Freedom Flotilla and of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

1400 GMT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his trip to Washington. He was due to meet President Obama tomorrow.

1330 GMT: The British Government, via Foreign Secretary William Hague, has issued this statement:
I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla. Our Embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli Government. We are asking for more information and urgent access to any UK nationals involved.‪ ‪

We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations. It will be important to establish the facts about this incident, and especially whether enough was done to prevent deaths and injuries. ‪

This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1860. The closure is unacceptable and counter-productive. There can be no better response from the international community to this tragedy than to achieve urgently a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis.

1200 GMT: An Al Jazeera correspondent reports from Ashdod: "Israeli hecklers continue to make if hard for us to report the story....They are only heckling Arab media, such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyya....While Arab protestors and left-wing Israelis escorted away by police, they don't seem to be doing much to stop the right-wing hecklers."

1105 GMT: The 2nd boat of the flotilla is nearing port in Ashdod.

1045 GMT: Amidst protests in Turkey against the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish Ambassador to Israel has been recalled. Israeli authorities have advised citizens not to travel to Turkey.

The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister has condemned Israel: “This operation will leave a bloody stain on the history of humanity.”

1035 GMT: The first ship of the flotilla is now in Ashdod. Al Jazeera English is reporting up to 19 dead.

The United Nations has issued a statement: "Such tragedies are entirely avoidable if Israel heeds the repeated calls of the international community to end its counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza."

1015 GMT: Justifying the Attack. Back from a break to find more of the same on Israeli side --- Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has claimed that the deaths resulted from a "provocation" by the passengers of the flotilla: "On the deck we found weapons which were used against the forces. The organizers' intent was violent and the results were unfortunate. Israel regrets the loss of life. We called the organizers once and again the stop the provocations."

Israel Defense Forces are claiming via Twitter, "5 soldiers injured during flotilla mission --- 2 severely and 3 moderately".

0845 GMT: The Arab League has said it will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow over the attack on the Freedom Flotilla.

0830 GMT: More footage of the Israel attack, this time from a Turkish source, complementing the video we have posted, before commandoes boarded the ship. There are graphic images of wounded and a correspondent declaring, "We are under attack from all sides."

0820 GMT: Schools have been closed and shelters opened in the Israeli port of Ashdod, where Israeli forces are towing the Freedom Flotilla.

0815 GMT: We have posted video of the last report from Al Jazeera correspondent Jamal Elshayyal from the lead ship of the Freedom Flotilla, made moments before Israeli commandos boarded. I have asked some questions, in light of Elshayyal's report, about the Israeli account that commandos were merely defending themselves.

0745 GMT: Amidst the presentation by Israeli officials of their version of this morning's events, we post a video --- made before the assault --- by a Free Gaza Movement member: "If You're Watching This, The Flotilla Has Been Attacked". The speaker, Caoimhe Butterly, anticipates the post-attack political contest which is unfolding on this LiveBlog.

0730 GMT: Speaking on Al Jazeera English, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan counters the Israeli allegations: "None of those [on the ships] was part of Hamas; they were supporters and activists for the human rights of Palestinians."

0725 GMT: As Al Jazeera English tries to assess the Israeli military's press conference, members of the crowd in Ashdod stand behind the reporter with a large Israeli flag.

0720 GMT: Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning for those killed in the Freedom Flotilla.

0715 GMT: The "Lynching" of the Commandos. Israeli military spokeswoman Liebovich responds to a question:

"If you have one soldier and you have a dozen activists attacking that soldier, this is a lynch. When the passengers on this ship are trying to break the soldier's legs and arms, this is what I call a lynch. This is what happened....We had no intention to confront these passengers."

(Liebovich adds that she is "sure" the flotilla's passengers were not human rights activists but were connected with Hamas.)

Readers may compare this "lynch" to the live images aboard the ship when the commandos landed, currently being re-broadcast in the LiveFeed.

0710 GMT: The Israeli Propaganda Push. With communications with the aid ships cut off (CNN rather hopelessly is using vague reports from a correspondent in Cairo and then saying, "We have been unable to contact anyone in the flotilla"), Israeli authorities are trying to fill the space with their case.

Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman Amital Liebovich has given a press briefing that Israeli commandos faced "severe violence" --- a "lynch" --- by the flotilla's passengers with "sharp items" and "knives": "Live fire was used."

Liebovich says six Israeli commandos were injured "as well as" 10 passengers killed.

Liebovich insists, "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza" and adds, "The passengers of this flotilla...prepared themselves for violence against their soldiers."

Liebovich's press conference is complemented by this Israeli military statement: “During the takeover, the soldiers encountered serious physical violence by the protesters, who attacked them with live fire.” The "lynch" theme had already appeared, before the briefing, in The Jerusalem Post.

0644 GMT: The Israeli Line (cont.). The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pushing a film clip of the Israeli military issuing a warning to the Freedom Flotilla before boarding the Mavi Marmara: "The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port."

I've already seen the clip on Al Jazeera English.

0642 GMT: Contrary to other reports, Israel authorities say the flotilla ships will be towed to the port of Ashdod.

0640 GMT: Political Reaction. Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas has asked the Palestinian Authority to suspend all negotiations --- direct or indirect --- with Israel.

0635 GMT: Israeli Army says four Israeli naval commandos were injured: 1 seriously, 1 moderately, 2 lightly. It claims "light ammunition" was coming from flotilla ships so their troops "fought back".

0625 GMT: The last blog entry from Abbas Al Lawati from the attacked ships:

I've just heard that Israel is expected send divers to take control of vessels from below.

There were reports of helicopters flying overhead a little while ago but it turns out it was a flase alarm. There was, however, a flashing light hovering above one of the challenger ships. It could be a helicopter, possibly commandos. The Mavi Marmara is massive so I doubt commandos will approach us but both Challengers are just small passenger boats.

0615 GMT: The Israeli Line. David Saranga of the Israeli Consulate in New York gives an early indication of how West Jerusalem will defend the military operation, despite the 16 deaths.

Saranga lifts this line from London's Daily Telegraph, in an article on the Israeli attack: "Marine commandos had opened fire after being attacked with axes and knives by a number of the passengers on board the ships, the [Israeli] private channel 10 said."

(Minutes later, Saranga points readers to a page, "The Jewish Internet Defense Force", which recycles the line about axes/knives.)

In Israel, police have declared a heightened state of emergency, deploying thousands of forces around the country. A crowd in the Israeli port of Ashdod have been heckling the crew of Al Jazeera Arabic.

0605 GMT: The Turkish Government has condemned the Israeli attack. A crowd of demonstrators have surrounded the house of the Israeli Ambassador and asked him to leave the country.

The ship attacked this morning, the Mavi Marmara, is Turkish-registered.

0603 GMT: The Israeli attack was on the Mavi Marmara, one of the six ships in the flotilla. In a report from the ship just before communications were cut during the raid, Jamal Elshayyal of Al Jazeera said two people had been killed and organisers were ordering passengers to go inside the ship's cabin. The ship's white flag had been raised.

Sounds of live fire could be heard as Elshayyal reported, despite the raising of the flag of surrender.

0600 GMT: We are continuing the live feed from Turkish outlets of the Freedom Flotilla. Warning: images may be distressing.

0545 GMT: We wake this morning to find that overnight Israeli forces have attacked the six ships of the "Freedom Flotilla" carrying aid to Gaza.

Israel Army Radio says at least 16 members of the convoy were killed and more than 30 injured when troops boarded the flotilla. The assault took place in international waters, 65 kilometres (40 miles) off the Gazan coast.

The attack by armed Israeli soldiers was accompanied by helicopters. Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops used live ammunition.

Israeli Army Radio said soldiers opened fire "after confronting those on board carrying sharp objects".

The Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, say the ships are now being towed to the Israeli town of Haifa, instead of the port of Ashdod, where Israel said members of the flotilla would be held in detention. The Movement claims the step is to avoid waiting journalists.

Turkey Analysis: Is the Opposition Party Changing?

Joost Lagendijk, a former Member of the European Parliament for the Greens who served as joint chairman of the Turkey-EU Parliamentarians delegation, has written about the "change" in the Republican People's Party (CHP), following the election of Kemal Kilicdaroglu as party leader. In his article, Lagendijk questions whether the party is giving signals of social democracy which would push the Erdogan Government towards European Union reforms:

Few people in this country realize how many European friends of Turkey would like to see the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, transform itself into a genuine, European-style, social democratic party and challenge the ruling conservatives.

Turkey Inside Line: A Political Warning from Business; Kurdish Connections

Some cherish this wish because they do not like the Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, blend of Islamic values and neo-liberal economic ideas. Most supporters of a CHP renaissance simply think it would be better for Turkey and the AKP if there were a progressive, pro-reform and pro-EU party in Parliament that would push Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to be more courageous and forthcoming on reforms that will make Turkey a more democratic country and, by doing so, bring it closer to EU accession.

Is the replacing of Deniz Baykal, the ultimate status-quo defender, with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the man who does his utmost to appear as a man of the people, the moment so many in Europe have been waiting for?

The question of whether or not last weekend’s explosion of hope and excitement at the CHP party convention signals a return to the good old social democratic days of the era of former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit will be answered negatively by most analysts. They believe it does not make any sense to compare the 1970s to the present political landscape in Turkey. On top of that, they claim the CHP never was, in fact, a real social democratic party and that academic research shows there are simply not enough social democrats in Turkey to get more than 20 percent of the vote at the ballot box.

Even if we take these points for granted, however, the question remains whether we will witness a serious attempt to reposition the CHP under the new leadership.

In that sense, parts of Kılıçdaroğlu’s speech have created some hope. His switch in rhetoric from state and secularism to people and poverty went over well. This is what many in Turkey and Europe would expect from a social democrat. But what about all the other controversial issues that have split Turkish society and politics for so many years now? Why was he so conspicuously silent on the Kurdish question and refuse to go beyond the old CHP clichés on the EU?

Let’s stop here for a moment. Is it reasonable to expect Kılıçdaroğlu to radically change all CHP policies from one day to the next? Let’s not forget that the new CHP leader was a member of the Baykal team that came up with so many of these dead-end proposals in the first place. The man is, in all probability, not a closet social democrat in heart and soul who, finally freed from his shackles, will now fundamentally change the CHP in one big move. The best bet seems to be to see him as a man who has understood that continued polarization will lead the CHP nowhere and a change in style and an adjustment of some policies are therefore necessary. I am not so sure whether he already knows which ones.

Based on his personal background, I expect Kılıçdaroğlu to prepare the CHP in the short term for a compromise with the AKP on the Alevi and Kurdish questions. Apart from his private motives, electoral considerations will force the CHP to try and regain some ground among these millions of voters. But in order to keep his credibility among diehard CHP voters, I think he will stick to the party’s rejection of radical constitutional change and to the ambiguous attitude toward the EU – saying you are in favor and then voting against all reforms that are needed to get there.

It might well be that this combination of change and continuity will convince some that the CHP has become a different party under Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership. I am afraid many others will position the new CHP leader as stuck somewhere in between a version of Baykal lite and the real reformer many in Turkey and in Europe would like him to be.

Turkey's Diplomatic Dance: The Nuclear Two-Step Between Iran & the US (Yenidunya)

Now we know why Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, saying that Ankara had "slightly opened the door" to a resolution but the ball was now in the court of the White House. The Washington Post reported:
On Wednesday, Obama spent more than an hour on the telephone explaining to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan why the deal his country cut with Iran was incongruous with a U.S. push to isolate the Islamic republic over its nuclear program, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

Iran Nuke Analysis: Reading the US-Turkey Discussions

Obama acknowledged Turkey's mediation efforts and "stressed the international community's continuing and fundamental concerns about Iran's overall nuclear program as well as Iran's failure to live up to its international obligations", the White House said in a statement. Obama also told Erdogan that the sanctions push would continue, despite Turkey's opposition to new U.N. penalties on Iran. The U.S. official described the conversation as "frank".

The newspaper also published the analysis of Henri Barkey, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, who believes Ankara is acting indpendently vis-a-vis Washington's regional policies:
For the Turks, it might be a Pyrrhic victory. They look great in the Third World that they thumbed their nose at the United States. But they are really screwing up the relationship with the U.S.

The Post headlined, "Spat over Iran May Further Strain Relations Between Allies U.S., Turkey".

Well, let's have a think about that. Ankara is trying to enhance its relative autonomy against Washington's dictations and the gains of its neighbours through its "zero problem" policy and "active diplomacy-first" approach.

However, Turkey is not going to move against Washington's interests as long as Ankara cannot find a balancing power. Wasn't it Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who talked to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in prior to his victory on the table in Tehran?

Turkey is not defying Washington; rather, it is strengthening its position, amidst regional calculations, for the approaching UN Security Council vote on Iranian sanctions. Indeed, let me put forth a challenging prediction: for the time being, Washington will not be disappointed when Turkey abstains in the Council. And America will still need Turkey on the Iranian nuclear issue after the vote.

Iran Nuke Analysis: Reading the US-Turkey Discussions

A bit of background to Monday's agreement between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil on procedure for an uranium enrichment deal....

Four days before the announcement, on 13 May, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had a telephone conversation with his counterpart Hillary Clinton. Two days after that, on Saturday, they met, just before Davutoglu went to Tehran.

Hours later, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan --- who had cancelled his own trip to Iran on the Friday --- reversed course. He set aside a visit to Azerbaijan and flew to Tehran.

So what happened in the high-letter US-Turkey encounters just before the IBT agreement? According to the State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley:

During the call [on 13 May], the Secretary stressed that, in our view, Iran’s recent diplomacy was an attempt to stop Security Council action without actually taking steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program.

There’s nothing new and nothing encouraging in Iran’s recent statements. It has failed to demonstrate good faith and build confidence with the international community, which was the original intent of the Tehran research reactor proposal. It has yet to formally respond to the IAEA.

She [Clinton] stressed that the burden is with Iran and its lack of seriousness about engagement requires us to intensify efforts to apply greater pressure on Iran. Now, that was the primary purpose of the conversation. They briefly touched on other subjects, including Middle East peace and the relationship between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Throughout the question-and-answer session, Crowley was giving the message: Iran was not going to give up its own enrichment of 20-percent uranium and so there was still the "urgent" need for sanctions as a result of the dual policy towards Iran. Translated, Washington said that there would be no unclenched fist extended to Iran as long as Israel's protests  over Tehran's nuclear programme and the regional contest for influence continued.

Crowley continued:
Iran has been very busy in recent weeks having conversations with a range of countries. Part of that conversation did occur last week in the dinner in New York. And not only – during the conversation in New York, not only did Iran not offer any new, Foreign Minister Mottaki indicated during the dinner that notwithstanding any potential agreement on the Tehran research reactor, they would continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent, which we –-- which is of great concern to us and violates their obligations under the IAEA.

So they had initially, when they announced they were going to enrich uranium to 20 percent, they claimed at the time that it was for the Tehran research reactor, but it’s obviously part of a broader agenda. And that’s what we are concerned about. That’s why we continue to pursue the sanctions resolution as part of our pressure track.

When asked whether Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's expected visit to Tehran was a "last opportunity", Crowley said:
Well, I mean, we are –-- we continue to move forward on a sanctions resolution, and we have a sense of urgency about this. We want to get this done as quickly as possible. But our view remains that we are doubtful that Iran is going to change course absent the kind of significant pressure that comes with a resolution and the consequences that come with them.

Then, when he was asked whether the State Department gave Davutoglu any red lines that Turkey should not cross, Crowley replied:
Regarding the TRR [the Tehran Research Reactor], it [a proposal for "third country enrichment"] was put on the table last fall to build confidence with the international community about the true intentions of Iran’s nuclear program. We have drawn conclusions from Iran’s failure to even respond –-- much less engage constructively –-- even respond to the proposal formally to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency].

[Clinton] stressed to Foreign Minister Davutoglu again today that it’s not about the public statements that Iran makes. If Iran wishes to engage in –-- regarding the TRR, come up with alternatives that meet the fundamental intent of the proposal, then they can pick up the phone and call the IAEA, which is something they have failed to do.

Following the announcement of the IBT agreement, Crowley restated the reasons for an "urgent" sanctions draft:
In the statement, the White House acknowledged the efforts made by Turkey and Brazil and now called upon the IAEA to clearly and authoritatively convey the results of this arrangement to the IAEA. That said, the United States continues to have concerns about the arrangement. The joint declaration does not address the core concerns of the international community.

Iran remains in defiance of five UN Security Council resolutions, including its unwillingness to suspend enrichment operations. In fact, today Iran reaffirmed that it plans to continue to enrich uranium to 20 percent despite the fact that it previously justified this increased enrichment as for the Tehran research reactor. So public statements today suggest that the TRR deal is unrelated to it ongoing enrichment activity. In fact, they are integrally linked.

And then Crowley became very coy and even deceptive about how much Washington knew of the Turkish and Brazilian efforts:
I think we had conversations with Foreign Minister Amorim and Foreign Minister Davutoglu prior to their arrival in Tehran. I’m not aware of any specific contacts with them over the weekend.

But, setting aside Crowley's public spin, did the US know in advance of Erdogan's sudden decision to go to Iran? Most likely, Washington did not anticipate that the diplomatic efforts were moving towards an agreement, leading to the Turkish Prime Minister's change of plans. Ankara had made a decision: the benefits of a joint proposal with Iran and Brazil meant that it would exert autonomy and risk the US reaction.

Now the question is "What will Turkey will do in the UN?" This week, Erdogan wrote a letter to President Obama, saying that Ankara had opened the door slightly for a resolutio. Now the ball was in Washington's court.

In other words: "We did our part (and gained diplomatic and political advantage from doing so). You want to mess up this agreement with sanctions, so be it --- although don't expect us to vote for the resolution in the Security Council.

"We've got our ties with the US, which we value. But we also have our economic and political ties with Tehran."

Iran Analysis: Four Perspectives on the Uranium-Sanctions Dance

Amidst the ongoing reaction on the uranium front, Dissected News offers a provocative reading, working through and around four partial viewpoints to argue:
The Obama administration was given the opportunity to eliminate the myths and start a new chapter in U.S. foreign policy. Instead, [the President] scrambled to defend the old policy.

Lack of change domestically [can] be blamed on predecessors or legislatures, but Obama owns his own foreign policy legacy.

Roger Cohen of The New York Times is even sharper in his criticism of Washington, calling for a negotiation between the caricatures of US-Iranian relations but concluding:
Last year, at the United Nations, Obama called for a new era of shared responsibilities. “Together we must build new coalitions that bridge old divides,” he declared. Turkey and Brazil responded — and got snubbed. Obama has just made his own enlightened words look empty.

EA's Ms Zahra offers a far different perspective:
The only language the Iranian system understands is power (zaban-e zoor). Accepting the Iran-Brazil-Turkey declaration as a first step would create another delay of several months. Rejecting it may appear as unwillingness to negotiate, but only from a very superficial perspective. The regime made this diversion on purpose, and Clinton replied, "Who do you think you're fooling?"

Well, let's see, if Tehran finally realises that it has crossed all red lines. If Turkey was really tacitly supported by the US, then it certainly was not for this mockup of treaty. I have the impression that [the Turkish and Brazilian leaders] Erdogan and Lula weren't able to push the Supreme Leader further.

Farideh Farhi, in a wide-ranging interview on the Iranian internal situation and US-Iranian relations, adds this incisive point:
It is very interesting to watch and see the different reactions to this nuclear agreement in the past few days and compare that to the kind of reaction that occurred when the previous agreement was announced last October. This time there is the sense to me that a very large sector of the Iranian elite are being called upon to support this deal. The kind of disagreement that manifested itself last time I do not see. There have been important voices that have objected to this deal, but, for example, 200 of the 290 members of the parliament say they support the agreement. And last year, for example, the Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani strongly opposed the deal. This time he told the
people to be united. Even some important individuals considered to be more reform-oriented have written editorials talking about these being very critical times for Iranian history. You get a real sense that a high-level decision has been made to push for an agreement and to try to resolve the nuclear issue.