Spat over Iran may further strain relations between allies U.S., Turkey

JERUSALEM — President Obama said last year that the United States and Turkey must “work together to overcome the challenges of our time.” This month, the allies couldn’t have been more out of sync.

Turkish mediation of an agreement for Iran to ship abroad part of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium has threatened the Obama administration’s efforts to win consensus at the U.N. Security Council on a new package of Iran sanctions and thoroughly irritated U.S. officials.

A rougher patch in relations could be on the horizon if Turkey — a key Muslim NATO ally crucial to U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq — works to forestall a sanctions vote or votes against sanctions on Iran.

“We’re always going to have important issues with Turkey that we’re going to cooperate on. But, of course, on a matter so important to us, it will inevitably have an impact on the way Americans and Congress and the president will interact with Turkey,” a senior administration official said.

The clash over Iran follows a rough patch in the relationship that emerged earlier this year after a House committee labeled as “genocide” Ottoman Turkey’s killing of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915. In response, Turkey temporarily recalled its ambassador to Washington. To defuse the diplomatic spat, Obama refrained from using the word “genocide” in a statement he issued last month to commemorate the deaths.

This month’s spat resulted not only because of ideological dif…

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