Turkey seeks waivers from US on Iran sanctions

Turkey seeks waivers from US on Iran sanctions

Turkey’s energy minister said Wednesday negotiations were under way to earn waivers from US sanctions on crude oil imports from neighbouring Iran.

“Currently talks are being conducted at the level of companies,” Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

The Obama administration on Tuesday exempted 10 European Union countries and Japan from US economic sanctions, praising them for reducing dependency on oil from the Islamic republic.

But Turkey, which depends on natural gas and oil imports from Iran, was not placed on the list of countries granted exemption by Washington.

“The fact that Turkey is not on the list does not mean that it will never be there,” Yildiz said.

While Washington and Brussels are ardent supporters of sanctions to force Iran to abandon its contested nuclear programme, Turkey believes tough measures will backfire and instead backs engagement and diplomacy.

Turkish officials have refused to join the latest US and EU sanctions against Iran, which include a ban on oil imports, and are only bound by UN Security Council measures.

One fifth of Turkey’s natural gas and one third of its oil comes from Iran, according to non-profit organisation the International Crisis Group.