Turkey vows to keep buying Iranian oil: ‘We will not obey’

by Joel Gehrke | July 24, 2018 Washington Examiner

Source Link: Turkey vows to keep buying Iranian oil: ‘We will not obey’

{One day, Turkey will need a favor from DJT. Let’s see how that works out. – LS}

Turkey plans to keep purchasing Iranian oil in defiance of American sanctions on the rogue regime, according to the NATO ally’s top diplomat.

“We buy oil from Iran and we purchase it in proper conditions,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. “What is the other option?”

Cavusoglu’s comments raise the specter of yet another clash between the U.S. and Turkey, which is also in the final stages of an arms deal with Russia that could trigger American sanctions. Turkish officials, in both cases, have dismissed the U.S.’ threat of sanctions to constrain the choices of other countries.

“While we are explaining why we will not obey these sanctions, we have also expressed that we do not find these U.S. sanctions appropriate,” Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

The Trump administration hopes to isolate Iran and deprive the regime of access to international sources of revenue that might be used to finance a nuclear weapons program or regional aggression by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the regime’s terrorist proxies.

“Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May. “So the Americans have given up economic activity now for an awfully long time, and I’ll concede there are American companies who would love to do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran … But everyone is going to have to participate in this. Every country is going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for Qasem Soleimani.”

Turkey has pledged to consummate an agreement to purchase Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defenses, despite strong pushback from NATO allies and U.S. sanctions on the Russian defense industry.

But as Cavosoglu takes a hard line on the oil sanctions, Tupras, Turkey’s biggest oil importer, is cutting back on deals with Iran without eliminating the sales entirely.

“During the sanctions scheme of 2011 by the U.S., Tupras was able to purchase three to four cargoes of Iranian crude a month,” a source told Hurriyet Daily News. “I believe they would want to be able to stick to that this time as well instead of completely stopping. This crude needs to be bought by someone as otherwise it will send the price shooting up, which nobody wants.”

That reduction might render Turkey eligible for a rare waiver from the sanctions. “We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis,” Brian Hook, the State Department director of policy planning, told reporters in early July. “But as with our other sanctions, we are not looking to grant waivers or licenses.”

Still, Cavusoglu’s rhetoric is emblematic of the disagreements that have hampered U.S.-Turkey cooperation in the region of late.

“We need [Turkey’s] behavior to reflect the objectives of NATO, and that’s what we’re diligently working to do: to get them to rejoin NATO, in a way, with their actions, consistent with what we’re trying to achieve in NATO,” Pompeo said during a May congressional hearing. “And not take actions that undermine its efforts.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Iran and Turkey, Turkey and NATO, U.S. - Turkey relationship

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