Thursday, June 17, 2010

One reason is almost certainly because of embarrassment over an April letter from President Barack Obama to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that set out U.S. conditions for an Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal. (POLITICO briefly saw a copy of the Obama letter to Erdogan but didn’t get a chance to examine it closely. Sources said it closely resembled an April 20th letter from Obama to Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that was published in the Brazilian media.)

Though Brazil and Turkey managed to get Iran to agree to the three major conditions set out in the Obama letters in a May 18 agreement with Tehran – that Iran would send 1200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium, abroad, in one batch – the United States and its allies rejected the Brazilian-Turkish-Iranian deal as insufficient and vowed to pursue their sanctions push at the U.N.

While U.S. officials insist and there is much evidence for the fact that in the month following the April 20 Obama letters, Turkey and Brazil were made aware that the U.S. position was more complex and found its eleventh hour negotiations with Tehran unhelpful, the administration has not entirely dispelled the impression that the two countries might have felt they were getting mixed signals from Washington.

Turkish officials and journalists suggest a gap between the message and tone taken by Obama and the White House versus the posture taken by the U.S. diplomatic corps on the Iran nuclear fuel deal.

This reminded be of something Lee Smith pointed out:
President Barack Obama’s point-man for his latest approach to the Muslim world is John Brennan, the White House’s counterterrorism czar, recently described by the Washington Post as one of the president’s most trusted advisers. Two weeks ago Brennan explained to a Washington audience that “we need to try to build up the more moderate elements” within Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shia militia. The State Department rushed in to explain that there was no change in U.S. policy toward a group it has designated a terrorist organization—however, this was the second time Brennan had spoken of reaching out to Hezbollah “moderates” (and the second time he was corrected by the State Department), which means he has the president’s approval.
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