US delegation, Turkish officials to discuss Iran sanctions in Ankara on Friday

DAILY SABAH WITH REUTERS
ISTANBUL
Published 19.07.2018 12:54
Updated 19.07.2018 13:02
A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. (REUTRES Photo)
A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. (REUTRES Photo)

A U.S. delegation of Treasury and State Department officials will meet Turkish authorities on Friday to discuss sanctions targeting Iran, an official from Turkey's foreign ministry said.

"A U.S. delegation currently holding talks in India will be visiting Ankara on Friday regarding sanctions against Iran," a foreign ministry official told Reuters.

"The delegation will meet with related institutions, including from the foreign and finance ministries."

A U.S. embassy spokesman confirmed that the talks would take place on Friday and would focus on Iran sanctions.

Two months ago President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and other world powers, and ordered tough U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

A senior State Department official said last month Washington had told its allies to cut imports of Iranian oil by November - a call which Ankara publicly resisted.

"Iran is a good neighbor and we have economic ties. We are not going to cut off our trade ties with Iran because other countries told us so," Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said three weeks ago.

The U.S. had said it was prepared to work with countries on a case by case basis to help them reduce imports of Iranian oil as Washington prepares to reimpose sanctions against Tehran in November, suggesting the Trump administration could offer waivers.

Turkey, a NATO ally, is dependent on imports for most of its energy needs. In the first four months of this year, Turkey bought more than 3 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran, almost 55 percent of its total crude supplies, according to data from the Turkish energy watchdog (EPDK).

Iran also remained Turkey's biggest crude oil exporter in the first quarter of 2018 despite a 20 percent decrease, according to Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority's (EMRA) data.

President Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying he was disappointed in the decision. Underlining that Turkey was "in favor of peace in the region," he called on the five countries which signed the nuclear deal to make sure they protect it.

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