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Sunday 19 December 2010
The Iranians have asked the Turks for information on Iranian opposition members in Europe
The Prime Minister of Turkey has promised Iran to consider its request that Turkey supply Iran with any information the Turks receive from NATO or the European states regarding Iranian opposition members in Europe.
Iran's request from Turkey that it supply the Iranians with information on Iranian opposition members in Europe was relayed by a senior official from Ahmadinejad's government to foreign minister Davutoglu, as an aside during talks held in Iran inMay 2010 to discuss the TRR deal. The senior official explained that Iranian opposition members in Europe had become increasingly involved in inciting Iranian citizens in recent years, especially since the presidential elections in Iran. This activity was also being made possible by the donations flooding into Iran from Europe,camouflaged as donations to the needy. The senior official said that Iran is planning to ask Turkey to direct the relevant Turkish officials to provide Iran with information on Iranian opposition members in Europe which Turkey received as a member of NATO and due to its close ties with European states. He also explained that in order to 'strangle' the activity of Iran's opponents, Ahmadinejad had requested that he also receive information on the sources of the funds being sent from Europe to opposition elements in Iran.
The Turkish foreign minister, Davutoglu, promised the Iranian official that Turkey would consider this request, and would provide the Iranians with a response in the near future. The Iranian request was raised again during Prime Minister's Erdogan visit to Iran with foreign minister Davutoglu on 16 May 2010 to sign the TRR agreement between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan took the same opportunity to emphasize the importance of this matter remaining a well-kept secret, in any case, to avoid the serious damage to Turkeys image in the eyes of the West which could occur were the information to be leaked. He maintained that it was important that Turkey continue to be considered by the West as pro-Western, and avoid being perceived as cooperating with a country they defined as anti-democratic.
It is known that recent years have seen Iran and Turkey cooperating successfully in a number of spheres, but a development of this nature, involving Turkey considering the possibility of supplying Iran with information on Iranian citizens in Europe that it receives from NATO and European States, is outside the box, since the European countries, especially members of the EU, see Turkey as a friendly country. Worthy of note is that prior to the request from Iran, the Turks showed no particular interest in Iranian opposition members in Europe. However, Turkey seems prepared to humor Iran as part of its current intensive cooperation with the other country, and due to its desire to go even further to build up trust between the countries. This was evident on12 June 2010 when Turkey voted against U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929(which imposed more sanctions on Iran), infuriating the U.S. and other Western states.