'Obama signaled to Khamenei that U.S. could accept civilian nuclear program in Iran'
Washington Post's David Ignatius says U.S. president passed a message to Iran, through Turkish PM Erdogan, that he could agree to a civilian nuclear program if Tehran proved it was not building a nuclear bomb.
U.S. President Barack Obama has recently passed a message to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Washington Post reported on Friday, which signaled that the United States would agree to an Iranian civilian nuclear program if they proved they were not developing a nuclear bomb.
According to David Ignatius, the Washington Post's senior columnist specializing in intelligence matters, Obama passed Khamenei the message through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Tehran this week.
Obama reportedly signaled Khamenei that the U.S. would be prepared to accept a civilian nuclear program in Iran, should the Iranian leader take steps that would support his public declarations in February, in which he said that Iran "would never develop nuclear weapons." The U.S., Obama also wrote, would also expect Iranian leaders to prove that Tehran does not have a military nuclear program.
Obama met with Erdogan at the nuclear summit in South Korea for two hours and asked him to pass on the message to Khamenei. Obama told Erdogan that the Iranians must understand that time is running out on a solution for the Tehran nuclear problem and that they must take advantage of the negotiations that will begin with the six world powers on April 13.
According to Ignatius, Obama did not give details as to whether Iran would be allowed to continue enriching uranium on its soil while developing its civilian nuclear program.
Erdogan told Obama that he will transfer the message, and the U.S. administration believes that he did so during the meeting he held with Khamenei in Tehran this week.
Since Obama entered the White House, an alliance was formed between him and Erdogan. The Turkish prime minister is the Muslim leader that is most closely associated with the U.S. president.
Negotiations between Iran and the six world powers are due to begin on April 13, but a location has yet been scheduled.