Iran Open to Turkish Mediation With Obama Administration

After the G20 summit on Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his government would be willing to play the role on mediator between Iran and the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. With neither the US nor Iran responding at the time, not much was made of the suggestion.

But now, the Iranian Foreign Ministry seems open to the possibility as well. Though spokesman Hassan Qashqavi took the usual cautious approach towards any talks of new relations with the United States, he praised the “neighborly ties” of Turkey and said his government would “not create any obstacles in the way of such moves.” Not exactly a glowing endorsement for the talks, but it certainly leaves the door open.

What, if any, changes an Obama Administration will make with respect to Iran relations has been one of the top speculations since his election victory two weeks ago. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the unprecedented move of congratulating the President-elect on the win, though analysts warned Obama that it may have been some sort of needlessly convoluted “trap” that he oughtn’t respond to.

The closest thing Obama ever did to answering the letter was to use his first post-election press conference to accuse the Iranian government of developing nuclear weapons and promise an “international effort” against them. Still, Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed hope that Obama would eventually bring Iran to the negotiating table, while insisting that such negotiations come with a myriad of preconditions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.