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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Turkey feels Iran chill

Turkey is feeling the chill resulting from its taking a stand against Iran.

Iran's supply of natural gas to Turkey was inexplicably slashed by 70% last Friday, in one of the coldest months of the year. On the same day, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul raised the tension between the two countries by calling for greater Iranian "transparency" over Tehran's nuclear program.

"There should not be an armament race in the region," he said. "We follow a policy to clean the entire Middle East [of] WMD [weapons of mass destruction]."

While ordinary Turks braced for shortages and chilly weeks ahead, analysts speculated that the cut was a calculated move by Tehran aimed at warning Ankara not to become involved in its escalating row with the West.

Until recently, Ankara had remained largely silent on the view it takes of Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear energy program. But despite publicly supporting Iran's quest for nuclear energy, Turkish officials have privately spoken of their fears at the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.


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