Turkey Says It Won't Honor U.S. Demand To Stop Buying Iran's Oil
RFE/RL June 28, 2018
Turkey has said that it does not plan to honor a U.S. call for countries to stop importing oil from Iran, calling the demand "not binding" on Ankara.
"We will follow if there are decisions, sanctions by the United Nations on this issue. Other than this, we will only follow our own interests," Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said.
Washington on June 26 warned its allies that they must end Iranian oil imports by November 4 or they will face penalties under sanctions the United States is reimposing on Tehran.
Turkey, which has recently faced the threat of U.S. sanctions over Ankara's plan to purchase S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, offered sympathy and support for neighboring Iran.
"We will pay attention so our friend and brother Iran will not face unfair treatment," Zeybekci said, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Turkey's dismissal of the U.S. threat came as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, urged India -- one of the top buyers of Iranian oil -- to honor the U.S. sanctions.
India, like Turkey, has previously said it only complies with sanctions imposed by the United Nations, not those issued by individual nations.
"With India and the U.S. building strong relationships, we hoped that they would lessen their dependence on Iran," Haley said after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 27.
Haley added that Modi "very much understands where we are with Iran" and she believes he will try to comply with the sanctions. Modi did not comment on the matter.
Haley said the United States was also putting pressure on Japan and South Korea -- also major buyers of Iranian oil -- to honor the U.S. sanctions.
An anonymous Iranian oil official was quoted by state media on June 27 as saying that the U.S. demand was "impossible" and "unworkable" because the world is reliant on the oil the country supplies.
While urging India to curb its Iranian oil purchases, Haley said the United States supported India's project to help Iran build a major port complex in Chabahar, which is being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan.
Calling the port project "vital," Haley said, "We know the port has to happen and the U.S. is going to work with India to do that."
Haley acknowledged that the port project will also benefit Iran even as Washington tries to cut Tehran off from international markets.
"We realize we're threading a needle when we do that," she said.
With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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