Erdogan: US sanctions on Iran wrong, aimed to unbalance world

Turkish president rejects reimposition of economic sanctions against Iran, saying they are wrong and unfair.

AK Party''s Group Meeting in Ankara
Erdogan said Turkey imports about 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Iran [Evrim Aydin/Anadolu]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the new US economic sanctions on Iran, saying that Turkey will not abide as they are aimed at unbalancing the world.

“US sanctions on Iran are wrong. For us, they are steps aimed at unbalancing the world; we don’t want to live in an imperialist world,” Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday after addressing ruling party MPs at the parliament in the capital, Ankara.

His comments come after Washington this week imposed a second set of sanctions on Iran that aim to isolate the country’s banking sector and slash its oil exports.

Eight countries including Turkey – a NATO member – have received a US waiver to continue importing Iranian oil without consequences. 

According to Turkish Daily Sabah, Erdogan said that Turkey imports about 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Iran.

According to the data from the Energy Market Regulatory Authority’s (EMRA) Natural Gas Market Report for December 2017, about one-fifth of Turkey’s natural gas exports come from Iran.

Isolating Iran is dangerous

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also warned Washington against the reimposition of sanctions on Iran, saying isolating the country is “dangerous”.

“While we were asking [for] an exemption from the United States, we have also been very frank with them that cornering Iran is not wise. Isolating Iran is dangerous and punishing the Iranian people is not fair,” he said at a press conference during a trip to Japan.

“Turkey is against sanctions, we don’t believe any results can be achieved through the sanctions,” he added.

“I think instead of sanctions, meaningful dialogue and engagement is much more useful.”

Cavusoglu had earlier conveyed the same message last July to a delegation of US officials, stressing that Turkey would not abide by anti-Iran sanctions since Iran is an important neighbour and partner.

“We buy oil from Iran and we purchase it in proper conditions. What is the other option?” Cavusoglu said.

Washington has imposed two sets of sanctions this year after pulling out of the landmark 2015 nuclear pact agreed between world powers and Iran that President Donald Trump derided as “defective”.

The latest round went into effect on Monday.

Oil waivers

The new sanctions have sparked furious reactions from Iran, whose President Hassan Rouhani said the country would “proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions”.

On Monday, Washington vowed to be “relentless” in countering Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the US wanted Iran to make a “180-degree turn” and abandon its “current revolutionary course”.

UN inspectors say Iran is abiding by an agreement reached with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama to draw down its nuclear programme. That deal was backed by European powers, Russia and China and sealed by a UN Security Council resolution.

Those other parties to the nuclear deal have vehemently opposed the US move and vowed to keep alive the accord, technically known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Source: Al Jazeera