Jun 27 2018

U.S. oil restrictions on Iran don’t apply to Turkey – economy minister

The U.S. demands to its allies to stop buying crude oil from Iran are not binding for Turkey, Turkish economy minister Nihat Zeybekçi said on Wednesday, according to Russian news site Sputnik.

“Decisions by the U.S. Department of Commerce do not bind us. We will act appropriately for Turkey’s benefit,” said Zeybekçi.

U.S. President Donald Trump called on all U.S. allies to stop buying Iranian oil by November this year as part of a drive to isolate the Islamic Republic.

Turkey, however, will act according to United Nations rather than U.S. directives and “will take great care to ensure that (Turkey’s) friend and brother Iran is not treated unfairly,” said Zeybekçi.

In December 2017, a New York court heard testimony from Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab that Turkish state-owned HalkBank and several Turkish government ministers had been involved in a scheme to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

HalkBank’s punishment for its involvement in the scheme has not yet been decided, though a significant fine is expected.