Iran says ties with Turkey should not be harmed
DUBAI, April 6 — Iran said today it had a strategic relationship with Turkey that should not be damaged by officials' remarks, a day after Turkey's prime minister said Tehran was insincere about proposing nuclear talks with world powers in Syria or Iraq.
Tensions between Turkey and Iran have risen after Turkey's vocal opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has close ties with Iran, and Istanbul hosting the Syrian opposition and international meetings of nations opposed to the Damascus government.
Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan said suggesting Damascus or Baghdad as a venue for the meeting was a “waste of time, it means it won't happen”. He told the news conference Tehran was losing its international prestige because of its “lack of honesty”.
“We should not allow comments by different officials in the two countries to harm the strategic relations between us,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.
He did not specifically name Erdogan, who met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and had a rare audience with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a visit to Iran last week.
“A difference of opinion on some political regional issues is natural and through dialogue one should try to bridge the gap between countries' stances and find the best possible solution to existing crises,” Mehmanparast said.
Iran is at odds with the West over its disputed nuclear programme, which the United states and its allies say is aimed at making nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear work is aimed at generating electricity.
Erdogan said on his return from Iran that he had received assurances from the Iranian leaders that their nuclear programme was purely civilian and said he had no reason to doubt their sincerity. — Reuters