Iran’s Rouhani, Turkey’s Erdogan said to discuss Israel’s ‘regional activities’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke Wednesday with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about Israeli moves in the Middle East.

The two leaders discussed “recent Israeli activities in the region,” and the normalization agreements Israel inked last year with several Arab states, the Ynet news site reported.

Iran’s Mehr news agency said Rouhani and Turkey discussed regional and economic cooperation on the call.

The call came amid high tensions in the Middle East sparked by an attack on Iran’s nuclear program that it blamed on Israel, Tehran’s escalatory response and alleged tit-for-tat strikes on commercial shipping vessels.

Iran is also holding negotiations with world powers aimed at rescuing its tattered 2015 nuclear deal. The US opened indirect talks with Iran last week.

On Tuesday, a senior Iranian official confirmed the Sunday blast at the Natanz nuclear facility destroyed or damaged thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

Iran said it will ramp up uranium enrichment to 60% following the explosion in Natanz, its highest level ever, and a short step away from weapons-grade levels.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Tehran, Iran, April 13, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Rouhani said Wednesday the decision to boost uranium enrichment was a response to Israel’s “nuclear terrorism.”

Israel has hinted at being involved, but not officially confirmed any role in the attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed never to allow Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon and Israel has twice preemptively bombed Mideast nations to stop their atomic programs.

The talks in Vienna are set to resume on Thursday. Representatives of countries involved said last week’s discussions were “constructive,” but yielded little progress.

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday dismissed initial offers made at the talks in Vienna, describing them as “not worth looking at” after the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility.

Israel and Turkey have frosty relations, and are currently at odds over Ankara’s support for the Palestinians and competing economic interests in the Mediterranean.

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