Erdogan “defies” Trump threats on Iran
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would continue to buy Iranian natural gas despite US sanctions on Tehran, despite US President Donald Trump’s threat that anyone doing business with Iran would not deal with the United States.
Erdogan said in an interview on Tuesday, more than a month after his Energy Minister Fatih Dunmiz, who said his country would continue to buy gas in line with a long-term supply deal with Tehran.
The long-term supply contract with Iran is in place until 2026, Donmes said. Ankara is in the process of purchasing the 9.5 billion cubic meter contract.
“We will continue this trade because we can not leave our people in the dark,” he said.
Iran is a major supplier of natural gas and oil to Ankara, which depends on imports to meet nearly all of its energy needs.
Natural gas is used to produce about 40 percent of electricity in Turkey.
While Turkish refining company Toprash has already cut oil shipments from Tehran, halting the energy imports altogether would be almost impossible.
Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program and said companies doing business with Tehran would be barred from working in the United States, with new US sanctions on Iran coming into force last August.
The sanctions target Iran’s purchases of the US dollar, trade in metals, coal, industrial software and the automotive sector. The sanctions do not include Iranian oil exports, but global crude prices have risen due to anticipation.
US sanctions on Iran’s energy sector are due to take effect after the 180-day liquidation period ends on Nov. 4.
Turkey has already violated US sanctions against Iran. The Iranian-Iranian gold seller Reza Darab faces a charge of violating Iranian sanctions in a case against him in the United States, which also accused former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Gaglayan of escalating tensions between the United States and Turkey.