Ambassador: Turkey 'cannot tolerate' Iran getting nukes

Turkey is committed to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and has stopped other countries from taking materials in to help Iran’s nuclear program, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States said Thursday.

Speaking at an event sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan said, “We cannot tolerate Iran having a nuclear weapon.

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“Even if one day you say we accept Iran, you understand Iran having nuclear weapons, we will be against it,” Tan said. “It’s as simple as that.”

But the Turkish ambassador stopped short of getting behind economic sanctions that Vice President Biden called for during a visit to Turkey last week. While Tan said that Turkey has not imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran, he emphasized it has always complied with sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

The ambassador said that Turkey has stopped other countries from importing materials that could aid Tehran’s nuclear program, though he declined to name the countries that were involved.

Tan reiterated his country’s good relationship with the U.S. as he discussed Biden’s comments with Turkish officials on Iraq. U.S. troops are supposed to be out of the country by the end of the month.

“He assured us Iraq would remain its relative stability intact, even after the United States leaves that country by the end of the year,” Tan said.

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Turkey does have concerns about Iraq after the U.S. military leaves, Tan said.

"We have some concerns, but there is no other alternative for the two countries as allies, and as the primary actors of that region presently,” Tan said.

Tan said that Turkey has made requests to the U.S., including requests for drones, to help the country deal with the Kurdish separatist rebels known as the PKK, who are considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.

He said the U.S. has indicated “a willingness” to help Turkey. “They know what we want, and we expect them to deliver,” Tan said.