In meetings in Turkey, Iran vows to get around U.S. sanctions

Zarif said that the US wants to control relations with other countries, hinting that Turkey must not be influenced by US views.

By Seth J. Frantzman
April 17, 2019 17:10
https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/In-meetings-in-Turkey-Iran-vows-to-get-around-US-sanctions-587177
urkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Ankara, Turkey. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran is seeking to shore up its relations with Turkey, after it has conducted high level meetings with Iraq and Syria in recent weeks. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif journeyed to Ankara where he met with Turkey’s foreign minister in a joint press conference. Turkey criticized US sanctions against Iran, even as other Turkish officials are in Washington trying to end a crisis with the US.

Zarif said that the US wants to control relations with other countries, hinting that Turkey must not be influenced by US views. “We will not allow the US to question our business with other countries.” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that US sanctions against Iran were “wrong.” Turkey has expressed this view before. Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak is in Washington and the Defense Minister of Turkey also recently met his US counterpart.

This is part of the policy Turkey is seeking to conduct, trying to be allies with the US and Russia and also reach out to Iran. After years in which Turkey had many difficulties with its neighbors, including shooting down a Russian plane on the Syrian border and opposing Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war, Ankara is trying to maneuver to be essential to each country so that they need Turkey more than Turkey needs them. Iran wants to play into this puzzle because it needs Turkey as an outlet for its economy and because Turkey is a strong economy, unlike Iraq and other neighbors, which have many more problems.

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