US confirms Turkey's role in efforts to resolve Iranan nuclear issue
Ankara and Washington have a "mutual understanding" regarding international efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program and what the next steps should be towards this end, said US State department spokesman Philip J. Crowley on Wednesday. His remarks came hours after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu denied media reports saying that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked him during a phone call to keep Turkey out of these efforts, insisting that Ankara is part of the process. "Turkey and Iran are neighbors," said Crowley. "One would expect that Turkey and Iran will continue to have diplomatic contacts. It is within their rights, and obviously, what happens in Iran has a profound and direct influence on Turkey." He continued, "What the secretary (Clinton) said to the foreign minister (Davutoglu) in their call earlier this week was that at this stage, the primary focus should be on Iran engaging constructively the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany). And we believe that there was a mutual understanding about the importance of getting Iran to engage the IAEA and the P5+1 at this stage of the game."