WASHINGTON - The US administration expressed its regret on Thursday over Turkey's and Brazil's vote opposing sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council, but refrained from heightening tensions.
US Undersecretary of State William Burns said he couldn’t hide the fact that the US was disappointed in the vote, but said it believed Turkey shared US concerns about a nuclear Iran.
Twelve of the 15 Security Council members, including the five permanent members, approved a range of steps against Iran following the Islamic Republic's refusal to suspend its nuclear program. Turkey and Brazil, temporary members, were the only states voting against, while Lebanon abstained.
During a press conference, Burns said that Turkey had demonstrated it is against a nuclear Iran, and that Iran must demonstrate to the International Atomic Energy Agency that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. US efforts to persuade Turkey continued right up to the vote itself, but to no avail.
Also Thursday, the Obama administration announced that Robert Einhorn had been appointed as State Department adviser on arms control, and will lead US efforts to enforce sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
US criticism against Turkey came just a few hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that UN Security Council Resolution 1929 was a mistake, and that he intends to continue to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Erdogan and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attempted to promote a compromise agreement with Iran in order to avoid sanctions. According to their proposal, Iran will send most of its uranium for enrichment in Turkey, and will get nuclear fuel rods in return. The six powers, including the US and Russia, refused to recognize the agreement and said Turkey was deceiving Ankara and Brazilia.
Earlier this week, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates blamed the EU for Turkey's position, saying that Turkey had been "pushed eastward" by the EU's refusal to grant it full integration into the west, as Turkey so much wanted.