Iran and Turkey creating joint bank -- Iranian ambassador

Iran’s Ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday the two countries are working to establish a joint bank and develop a financial tool to protect bilateral trade amid U.S. sanctions, Saudi-owned news outlet Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported.

Ambassador Mohammad Farazmand said that Iran exports a large volume of gas to Turkey and needs a new mechanism to enable financial transactions via the countries’ national currencies.

“We are in the process of establishing a joint bank, as well,” he told Mehr news agency, Al-Sharq reported.

Farazmand noted that all countries are entitled to develop bilateral trade and that the two countries had done nothing illegal.

“The U.S. is carrying out economic terrorism, besides sanctions on Iran, which is violating our countries’ rights,” he said.

Turkey's trade with Iran reached $21.9 billion in 2012, but has fallen sharply since the discovery of Iran and Turkey’s complex oil-for-gold scheme to avoid U.S. sanctions.   

Turkey halted imports of Iranian oil last month in compliance with U.S. sanctions, from which Turkey had been exempted for six months.

Last year, after months of turmoil caused by the weakening lira and tensions with the United States, Turkey’s economy fell into recession for the first time since 2009.