What Zarrab’s Arrest means for Rouhani

Posch told Al-Monitor that he sees “no political will in the West to use allegations of corruption against the Turkish president as a means to pressure him or the ruling party.” Meanwhile, Tolga Tanis, Hurriyet Daily’s Washington correspondent who closely follows the Zarrab case, told Al-Monitor that he does not think Erdogan will be eager to cooperate with the United States on this matter as he would “probably rather try to minimize the impact of this case to Turkish politics.”

Looking at the US-Iran dimension, Zarrab’s arrest could enhance cooperation. In Tanis’ telling, this may be the case “because Ahmadinejad, who is the patron of this businessman, is also to some extent a common enemy for the US and Rouhani governments.” Tehran-based journalist Abbas Aslani of Tasnim News Agency disagrees. He told Al-Monitor that the arrest is more of an issue between Turkey and the United States.

However, Aslani expressed caution about the indictment, telling Al-Monitor that “regardless of the names and records of the arrested people, any effort in line with creating a space in which it looks risky to work with Iran is at least in contradiction with showing good faith in implementing the nuclear deal with Iran.” In this vein, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s legal bid to claim Zanjani’s airline in Turkey and the US claim to seize Zarrab’s property could further complicate Iranian relations with Turkey.

Due in court on April 4, it remains to be seen whether Zarrab’s prosecution will yield greater cooperation between Turkey, the United States and Iran. For now, it appears that the case could strengthen Rouhani while Erdogan’s uncontested power at home makes it unlikely that he will suffer a blow — although there may be possible repercussions for US-Turkey relations.

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