Nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons capability are seen by the US and Turkey as having a destabilizing effect creating other countries to look into their own nuclear proliferation. Both countries agree on the global nonproliferation strategy to halt the regional ambitions of Iran. The methods for solving the issue and the immediacy of the threat of nuclear Iran is where they differ from each other. Opposing coercive measures to pressure an end to the Iranian nuclear program (sanctions, and the use of military force), Ankara theorized the increase of Iranian intrasigence and reinforcement of Tehran's rationale for a nuclear deterrant.
Humint and COMINT data supplied to ALU scholars helped them to develop a model (diplomatic, political) creating an analysis of what Turkey and and Iran's concerns are. Many thanks to CSIS, ISS, and CRS for their support.
Engagement and diplomacy are the weapons Turkey is using because of the understanding that Iran is viewing the US and her allies sanctions on them as a matter of national survival and they fear nuclear attack. Aggressive measures will have Iran rally around the flag and complicate the diplomatic process. Ankara feels that attacking Iran will delay their nuclear program and have negative effects on security and stability in the region forcing them to deal with the fallout. Ankara feels that it would be comparable to the end of the Gulf War where, 1) the PKK found shelter in Iraq. With a military strike looming Iran may feel a strategy of nuclear deterrent will prevent any future attacks-gives the nuclear weapon priority, an the nuclear program greater support. Affecting the Turkish economy, and provide nurturing to the Iranian hardliners makes Turkey's decision for future US and EU sanctions not enforceable on their part. Turkey's creation which improves their security situation by cooperating economically with Iran helps their export oriented economy develop in southeast Turkey.
Sanctions can cause problems to the Turkish economy, that is why trade with Iran on energy purchases is so vital. When formulating foreign policy as demonstrated with the Lybian Civil War, Ankara looks to boost their trade relations by working with the Iranians in their post crisis phase. Turkey's strategy for a post crisis phase Iran comes into conflict with the US focus on sanctions (isolation and economic strangulation) vs their Regional Economic Integration (boosting trade with the states that have maintained Turkey's foreign policy). Looking the other way on US and EU sanctions, Turkey still insists on a diplomatic solution. Backing the UN sanctions on Iran (legitimacy of the United Nations), the Turkish government refuses to implement the US or EU unilateral sanctions. They were noted as saying that they are bound by the UN sanctions, however not the other decisions. The imports will continue with no change in schedule. it will be up their private businesses. Under US and EU sanctions some Turkish businesses working with Iran were not illegal; what changes the paradigm is when they work at sidestepping the increased sanctions and their economy problems. One way they can be sidestepping the issue of sanctions is when Turkey's Halkbank pays for Iranian gas with Turkish Liras, having limited value for Iran within the international market due to inconvertibility: from there it is used to buy gold in Turkey to transferred or sold in the U.A.E. and finally being shipped to Iran. This serves to repadriate hard currency (2012 saw the increased oil sanctions in the summer of 2012). New sanctions that prohibited the transfer or sale of gold or other precious metals to Iran was by the 2013 NDAA, which will likely cause an impact in Iranian hard currency that they are able to repatriate. Turkey has been persuaded to increase their efforts in support for it's sanctions regime against Iran, but not willing to start sanctions against Turkish entities.
Pressure from the Secretary of State William Burns to Vice President Biden have made attempts to have Ankara increase sanctioning against Iran. They have also resisted pressure from the US to halt operations of Iranian Bank Mellat (identified by UN Security Council Resolution 1929.123). Limited agreements have been met, but they are unlikely to slow down their energy, security, and economic needs because of US demands.
Changing over the last decade about Iran's nuclear program; in 2005 it was rarely addressed by the Turkish government. Being generally supportive of Iran's nuclear program they moved from observer, to facilitator to mediator for the program. The Turkish general Staff classified Iran thru their National Security Policy Document as the greatest nuclear threat (due to their nuclear program and Shahab-3 missiles) to Turkish National Security.
The US invasion of Iraq caused instability within the region, allowing for a possible future military confrontation with Iran. Turkey's mediation in 2008 provided for the West and Iran to come together and arrange a fuel swap agreement with Turkey, Brazil, and Iran in 2010; which saw Iran depositing 1,200kg of LEW in Turkey for the return of 120 kg of nuclear fuel. Rejected by the US because of not addressing the 20% enriched uranium stockpiled, and Iran would not be prevented from producing HEU, and would not stop Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.
The ALU model suggests, 1) Turkey should act as mediator to Iran to get them back to talks P5+1 for discussion of nuclear power program, the countries economics and other issues, 2) since only recognize the UN sanctions, the US and EU should work to transfer their sanctions thru the UN in accordance with UN International Law, 3) Halkbank and Iran's Mellat bank should be closely monitored (follow the trail) and document, 4) the rival government set up in Turkey for Syria should work with mediation for Turkey and Iran (serves as good practice for the transition), 5) sanctions should also include partial freezing of assets (not full), 7) the frozen assets should be put into a fund for the country, once the sanctions have been lifted to be returned with interest, 8) the region should look into their own propositions and contact the outside community (US, EU etc.) when needed, 9) invisible sanctions against Turkey and Brazil if they continue to help Iran evade sanctions, 10) the UN Security Council Resolution 1929.123 should have an amendment (future article), and 11) reframe the Turkey, Brazil, and Iran fuel swap agreement to come up with a solution for, 20% enriched uranium stockpiled, and prevention of HEU.