Turkey says received no new US request to cut Iran oil imports
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, AA photo
Turkey has not received any new request from the United States to reduce the level of its crude oil purchases from Iran and its existing level of imports is continuing, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Wednesday.
In June, Washington exempted Turkey, along with six other countries, from its financial sanctions on Iran's oil trade for six months in return for a 20 percent cut in Ankara's purchases.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved expanded sanctions on global trade with Iran's energy and shipping sectors as it continued to ratchet up economic pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Washington says Tehran is enriching uranium to levels that could be used in nuclear weapons. Iran says the programme is for peaceful purposes.
The new package kept in place exemptions for countries including Turkey that have made significant cuts to their purchases of Iranian crude oil.
"There is no new demand from the USA to reduce the amount of crude oil which we get from Iran," Yildiz told Reuters.
"Whatever the current process is for purchasing crude oil from Iran, we are continuing that in the same way," he said.
Official trade data last month showed Turkey's crude oil imports from Iran fell more than 30 percent to 75,281 barrels per day (bpd) in October from September, as substitute oil from other suppliers including Iraq and Saudi Arabia rose.
Imports from the Islamic Republic, which was once supplying more than 60 percent of Turkey's crude oil requirements, came third in October behind Iraq and Russia.
The new U.S. sanctions also included measures aimed at stopping the flow of gold from Turkey to Iran.