Wikileaks: US cables show Turkey backing Ahmadinejad as “flexible” but overruled by hardline mullahs

posted at 10:55 am on January 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The latest release from Wikileaks shows a US diplomatic assessment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 that concluded the Iranian president sincerely wanted a nuclear fuel swap deal with the West, but that his hardliner bosses in the mullahcracy considered it a “virtual defeat” and scotched the deal.  CBS also reports from the leaked assessment that the US believes Iran trusts the Great Satan more than its trading partner in Russia to adhere to the terms of any deal reached:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought some kind of nuclear fuel swap deal more than a year ago, but faced internal pressures from hard-liners who viewed it as a “virtual defeat,” according to U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

The report, available on the WikiLeaks website Tuesday, also suggested Iran trusted its arch-foe the United States more than ally Russia to follow through with the U.N.-backed proposal: providing reactor-ready fuel in exchange for Iran giving up control of its low-enriched uranium stockpile.

The assessment was given to a top U.S. envoy by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose nation has a growing friendship with Tehran and is scheduled to host the next round of nuclear talks later this month between Iran and six world powers, including the United States.

Er, sure.  The Davutoglu assessment is also rather self-serving.  Turkey has grown closer to Iran over the last couple of years, and wants to play a central role in defusing the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  That only works if Turkey can convince the US that the Iranians can act as sincere negotiating partners with the right mediator, and that Ahmadinejad is the right contact for the US to court through the Turks.  Even in that sense, though, this analysis shows how silly that is; Ahmadinejad doesn’t have plenipotentiary power in negotiations.  The issue remains, as it always has, in the hands of the radical Islamist mullahs that run Iran.

As for Iran trusting the US more than Russia, that’s either flat-out disinformation or irrelevant spin.  Iran does a lot of business with Russia, and that wouldn’t happen without some level of mutual trust.  Moreover, Russia helped build the Bushehr nuclear power plant.  In contrast, Iran not only routinely rails against the US as the “Great Satan” and our alliance with Israel, they actively support groups attacking American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Iran wants to see an end to the US; trust isn’t an issue.

Nothing in the cable suggests that the Obama administration believed this nonsense, which is a good sign.  It also shows the US envoy challenged Davutoglu to consider the negative consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran as well as the negative consequences of harsher sanctions, which Turkey opposes.  The cable itself is another example of why most of the data that the US and other countries classify don’t really need to be exposed and serve no real useful purpose other than to embarrass the US and its allies and make conversations like these, as insubstantial as they might be, much more difficult to conduct in the future.


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The world is one big game of chess and always will be. Electing competent leaders is paramount. America has a group of really bad players at the moment, which puts all of us in great danger.

Keemo on January 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Sure, like saying that Ted Bundy isn’t as crazy as Manson so we can trust him.

Bishop on January 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Slow news day?

GaltBlvnAtty on January 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Nothing in the cable suggests that the Obama administration believed this nonsense, which is a good sign.

Actually this cable feeds Obama’s preconceived desire to negotiate with Ahmadinijhad. Obama has wanted to meet with the Persian Dwarf since Obama started his campaign for president.

By making the case that Ahmadinijhad is a reasonable person we can do business with, and claiming it is the hard line theocracy that is the problem, feeds Obama’s belief that he can reach an agreement.

The front line troops in the State Department might not believe this cable, but Obama does.

Skandia Recluse on January 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Well that’s a real slap in the face.

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Iran and Turkey are competitors for hegemony over the Muslim world. They are using each other.

ProfessorMiao on January 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Feh.

Russia is where certain mullahs stash their cash gained thru graft and corruption; it’s where they go to party large

Anyone thinking that Russia will side with us over Iran is smoking crack.

The dynamic of that region is heck of a lot more complex than most people think.

The ChiComs are sinking their claws into the region, the Russians are trying to mitigate that. Both sides see Iran as the rising power in the region.

Some in Turkey think they can ride the Persian lion.

The Iranians think they can be the masters of that whole region, again.

It’s the ‘Great Game‘ with the same (and new) players.

And no, Obozo isn’t up for this…and neither is Hillary.

That’s the untasty truth.

CPT. Charles on January 4, 2011 at 11:19 AM

… Obozo isn’t up for this … – Chuck

Man, that’s as racist as the New Years’ fireworks in Arkansas!

/ <— do I really need this thing?

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

So saying that Iran trusts the USA to adhere to UN resolutions more faithfully than Russia is spin??????
What the hell is the matter with people here?
This is common sense.
Regardless whether or not they want us all dead (I believe they do), of course anyone with a brain and an elementary knowledge of history would believe the USA over Russia.

What’s happening to this site?

cjk on January 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM

… anyone with a brain and an elementary knowledge of history would believe the USA over Russia. – CJK

Millions of “highly educated” (“free” – paid for by tax money) socialist Europeans would disagree.

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Oh wait, you said ‘anyone with a brain’, disregard above post! haha

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Good cop maniac Bad cop maniac.

Ward Cleaver on January 4, 2011 at 11:45 AM

And Mao was more flexible than Stalin.

RadClown on January 4, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Millions of “highly educated” (“free” – paid for by tax money) socialist Europeans would disagree.

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Like I said anyone with a brain and an elementary knowledge of history.

cjk on January 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Like I said anyone with a brain and an elementary knowledge of history. – CJK

Hahaha true, but they think they’re soooooo much smarter than us!

Tony737 on January 4, 2011 at 12:10 PM

May I be the first to say blah, blah, blah. Thank you.

Mason on January 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

An earlier Wikileaked assessment of Davutoglu by an American diplomat portrayed him as having little understanding of politics beyond Ankara (and of having “neo-Ottoman” visions.)

aengus on January 4, 2011 at 4:58 PM