Turkey: Obama wanted us to make a deal with Iran

The Turkish- and Brazilian-brokered nuclear enrichment deal with Iran earlier this week was widely seen as a setback for the Obama administration's nonproliferation agenda, and indeed the White House didn't exactly shower the agreement with praise before continuing its push to slap new sanctions on Iran. 

But according to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the whole thing was done with Obama's encouragement. The National reports:

Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, however, credited Mr Obama’s policy of engaging with Tehran for Ankara’s success in pursuing a diplomatic solution. “[Obama] paved the way for this process,” Mr Davutoglu said during a news conference in Istanbul. Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been “encouraged” to pursue dialogue with Tehran by Mr Obama during a recent, high-level nuclear conference in New York.

While I'm sure Erdogan and Obama discussed Iran, it seems unlikely that anything that explicit was said. At a briefing on Monday -- before Davutoglu's comments -- White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president had "not talked directly" with the leaders of Turkey or Brazil as the deal was being put together. 

Turkey and Brazil are reportedly infuriated by the new U.S.-backed agreement on sanctions and Davutoglu's suggestion that Obama was for the deal before he was against it isn't going to sit well in Washingtion.  

Hat tip: RFE/RL Transmission

STR/AFP/Getty Images


Detained militant describes World Cup plot

The timing of Iraq's announcement that an al Qaeda prisoner in its custory was plotting to attack the World Cup struck me as suspicious yesterday, but it looks like Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani did at least intend to attack the event. The AP reports: 

"We discussed the possibility of taking revenge for the insults of the prophet by attacking Denmark and Holland," al-Qahtani told The AP. "The goal was to attack the Danish and the Dutch teams and their fans," he added.

"If we were not able to reach the teams, then we'd target the fans," he said, adding that they hoped to use guns and car bombs.

It was unclear whether the militants had the ability to carry out what would have been quite a sophisticated operation - a complicated attack far from their home base. The Iraqi security official said no steps had yet been taken to put the plan into motion, such as obtaining bomb-making materials.