Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon in late 2009 that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought a compromise on nuclear impasse with the West but faced fierce political pressure from hardliners and had to drop the idea. In the latest WikiLeaks cables published today, Ahmadinejad was reported as agreeing with a swap of most of the country’s low enriched uranium with 20% enriched reactor-ready fuel but faced hardline opposition and was not able to complete the deal.
The Turkish foreign minister was also quoted as saying that he had asked Ahmadinejad if the opposition was based on “psychological rather Substance.” Ahmadinejad’s answer was the former, adding that the leaders in Tehran needed to manage public perception before signing off on a deal with the West. Davutoglu characterized Ahmadinejad as more flexible than other senior members of the leadership in Tehran.
The Turkish foreign minister is regarded as very close to the Iranian leaders and his report of Admadinejad’s role during the intense Geneva negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 could be credible.