Vice President Joe Biden urged Turkey on Friday to impose further sanctions against Iran, which the United States continues to eye with intense scrutiny for its possible development of nuclear weapons.
“We continue to support a diplomatic solution to our concerns with Iran,” Biden said during a meeting with President Abdullah Gul and Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek, the Associated Press reports. “However, we also believe that putting pressure on Iran’s leadership is necessary to secure a negotiated settlement and that is why we encourage our partners, including Turkey, to take steps to impose new sanctions on Iran.”
The vice president said the U.S. will continue to cooperate with Turkey to pursue “shared interests in the Middle East and North Africa.”
The Obama administration has stepped up its warnings to Iran following the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency’s recent report that suggested that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner maintained Thursday that it believes sanctions placed against Iran so far “are having an effect,” and that the U.S. will “keep the door open to possible engagement if they decide to take a path away from their current course.”
Biden started his day in Ankara on Friday with a breakfast meeting with Cicek, according to pool reports. Later in the day, the vice president lay a wreath at the Ataturk Mausoleum, where he was accompanied by U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone and other embassy officials.
In Ankara, Biden also urged Syria to halt its crackdown on protesters, declaring that the administration will take part in “broadening” international sanctions against the Assad regime.
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