Iran says the sole aim of its nuclear program is to generate electricity, but Western powers suspect it of secretly planning to produce nuclear weapons and are trying to persuade it to stop enriching uranium.
“… those who criticize Iran’s nuclear program continue to possess the same weapons,” said Erdogan, according to an advance copy, carried by state-run Anatolian news agency, of a televised address he was scheduled to make at 8 p.m.
“I think that those who take this stance, who want these arrogant sanctions, need to first give these [weapons] up. We shared this opinion with our Iranian friends, our brothers.”
United Nations and U.S. sanctions have already been imposed on Iran over its nuclear program, and if current talks fail to produce agreement, Western powers may push for a further round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Israel is assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal. Turkey, a European Union candidate, has been Israel’s closest Muslim ally, but relations have soured since Israel’s December-January offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad this week praised Erdogan for his “clear stance against” Israel.