Iran welcomes Turkey's Erdogan, playing down Syria split

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Iran welcomes Turkey's Erdogan, playing down Syria split

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Iran has rolled out the red carpet for visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, talking down recent tensions in bilateral relations.

The nuclear issue has not posed a problem, with Ankara voicing support for what Tehran says is a civilian project. The US and its allies suspect the Islamic Republic is trying to develop atomic bombs.

“We always thank Turkey for its stance in defending Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme,” said Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who helped welcome the Turkish premier.

Ankara has offered to host the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers.

Syria though has strained ties. Turkey wants President Bashar al-Assad to step down while Tehran continues to support its closest Arab ally. Iran now, however, says it backs Kofi Annan’s UN-sponsored peace plan.

Our correspondent in Tehran, Bora Bayraktar, explains that Turkey wants a quick end to the Assad regime while Iran wants to protect its regional ally. “Prime Minister Erdogan is here to find a solution to these two incompatible positions,”
he said.