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Turkey Exempt From U.S. Sanctions on Iran Oil

by AFP

Ali al-Saadi—AFP

Energy minister says Turkish and American officials held negotiations before Washington’s decision

Turkey will be among eight countries allowed by the United States to continue importing Iranian oil, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday.

“We know Turkey is among the countries that will be given an exemption but we do not have the details,” the minister said, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu.

Donmez hailed U.S. statements to allow imports at low levels after the re-imposition of sanctions from Monday. “I appreciate the positive statement [from Pompeo],” he said after questions from reporters in parliament. “I believe the point that we have reached will be a positive contribution to the region’s peace, comfort and stability,” he said, adding that Turkish and American officials held negotiations before Washington’s decision.

A U.S. delegation had come to Turkey in July for talks to address Ankara’s concerns about the potential negative economic impact of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Turkey has a strong trade relationship with its neighbor and imports Iranian crude.

U.S. President Donald Trump in May decided to abandon the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program, signed with other world powers, and bring back nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

Pompeo announced that affected countries had pledged to or have already cut back on purchases of petroleum from Iran. The move “is aimed at depriving the regime of the revenues it uses to spread death and destruction around the world,” Pompeo said on Friday. “Our ultimate aim is to compel Iran to permanently abandon its well documented outlaw activities and behave as a normal country.”

The U.S. Treasury will also call for the SWIFT global financial network to stop providing services to Iran’s banking industry as the United States seeks to hit Tehran over its nuclear program and alleged support for terrorism.

Relations between Turkey and the U.S. have improved since a diplomatic spat over the two-year detention of an American pastor who was released on Oct. 12.

Earlier on Friday, the NATO allies lifted sanctions against each other’s ministers, which were implemented in August following a Turkish court’s initial refusal to release Pastor Andrew Brunson in July.

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