Azerbaijan, Baku, May 18 / Trend, T.Konyayeva /
Agreement on exchange of uranium in the territory of Turkey, signed between this country and Iran, first of all, is advantageous for the Turkish side, however, whether Ankara will receive the expected benefits, depends on its implementation, experts say.
"Turkey will receive great benefit from the concluded agreement: this country's international impact and trust in it will be increased,"
Arif Keskin, employee of Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM) told Trend over phone.
Iran and Turkey signed an agreement on exchange of 1200 kg of low enriched uranium for higher enriched uranium in territory of Turkey May 17. Iran can ship its low enriched uranium to Turkey in a month after signing the relevant agreement between Tehran and
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
However, according to Keskin, question is whether this agreement will put an end to enrichment of uranium in the Iranian territory
"If Iran suspends uranium enrichment and continues talks with the West over its nuclear program, then it will be a great achievement of Turkey. Otherwise, this step will be considered as a tactical game and will not be supported by the West," the Turkish expert on Iran said.
If on the basis of resolution of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Iran doesn't suspend uranium enrichment, then there is no meaning of this agreement , Keskin believes.
In October 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and "six international mediators on Iran" (Russia, the U.S., China, Britain, France and Germany) offered Tehran to exchange low-enriched uranium (3.5-percent) to high-enriched uranium (20-percent). According to this plan, Iran was proposed to export its LEU to Russia where it would be further enriched and then sent to France for processing it into fuel assemblies for the Tehran reactor. However, Tehran stated that it was ready to buy a more highly enriched uranium or exchange with its reserves if the exchange will take place in the Iranian territory.
World powers and the IAEA, with its headquarters in Vienna, refused the proposal of Iran.
Keskin is sure that Iran and Turkey are competing for influence in the region, and Iran's hopeless situation gave Turkey the opportunity to achieve some benefits, but at heart the Iranians do not agree with such an exchange.
According to Iranian expert Rza Tagizade , if plan for the exchange of uranium is realized, then Turkey will more bolster its image in the region and the international community, which will give it the opportunity to persuade the West to expand economic cooperation with Iran, including in the energy sector.
U.S. and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons for military purposes under the guise of peaceful nuclear energy program, and currently discuss the introduction of new economic sanctions against Iran. However, Tehran rejects the accusations, claiming that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
"Thus, Turkey will win from the exchange of uranium both in the political and the economic sphere, but all depends on the implementation of the agreement," Tagizade, professor at the University of Glasgow told Trend over the phone from London.
Turkey as a neighbor of Iran and one of the leading countries of the region, unequivocally opposed the toughening of sanctions against Iran. In mid-April, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu clearly expressed his country's position, which is Turkey's unwillingness to take further sanctions. In late March, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke against imposing new sanctions against Iran.
The Turkish expert Hilmi Ozev also believes that above all Turkey follow its economic interests.
"The primary for Turkey is to prevent the imposition of an embargo against Iran because of the sharp growth in foreign trade between Turkey and Iran in the near future," Ozev, analyst of the
Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) told Trend over phone.
Ozev called contacts of Turkey with the countries of Central Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, which pass through the Iranian territory among other reasons for Turkey's interest in mediation and, therefore, for Turkey it is vital that Iran not to be in an economic blockade.
"In addition, Turkey needs to establish strong diplomatic relations with Iran for two reasons: because of the combat terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party and because of the peace process in the Middle East," he said.
According to Ozev, Turkey in recent decades holds in the region "policy of trust", whose main goal is to build relationships with neighbours "with zero problems."
"Turkey has chosen a way of dialogue with all sides and, now implements the agreements reached in the dialogue in its regional policy. The result of this policy was the current agreement between Iran and Turkey," he said.
Ozev also believes that if Iran chose Russia or France, then he would have domestic problems, but given the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country and is close to Iran, the risk of internal conflict about the decision reduces.
Vladimir Evseev believes that Turkey, as NATO member and a Muslim country, is the only state, to whom the both sides trust.
"Turkey has many advantages. Turkey itself has no power either for enrichment or production of nuclear fuel, so it is a good mediator," Vladimir Evseev, senior researcher of the International Security Centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy & International Relations said.