US demand to stop oil trade with Iran not binding for Turkey: Minister

The United States’ demand to stop trading oil with Iran is not binding for Turkey, a top Turkish official has said, adding that Turkey would only follow a United Nations decision regarding this issue.

Turkey economyDuring a press meeting in Ankara on June 27, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci noted Turkey would pay attention so that its friend Iran will not face any unfair treatment due to such actions.

The U.S. has told countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil by November and is unlikely to offer any exemptions, a senior U.S. Department of State official said on June 26 as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on allies to cut off funding to Iran.

“The decisions taken by the United States on this issue are not binding for us. Of course, we will follow the United Nations on its decision. Other than this, we will only follow our own national interests. In addition, we will pay attention so our friend Iran will not face any unfair actions,” Zeybekci said.

U.S. President Donald Trump in May said his administration was withdrawing from the “defective” nuclear deal agreed between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions, and ordered the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Tehran that were suspended under the accord.

“Yes, we are asking them to go to zero,” the official said on June 26 when asked if the U.S. was pushing allies, including China and India, to cut oil imports to zero by November.

“We’re going to isolate streams of Iranian funding and looking to highlight the totality of Iran’s malign behavior across the region,” the official told reporters speaking on condition of anonymity, as reported by Reuters.

Turkey strives for the development of free trade around the world, Zeybekci also said.

“Turkey acts in a more responsible way for the improvement of global trade and we have shown an effort for the development of free trade among countries,” he said.

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