Turkey: Not bound by US sanctions against Iran

Turkey: Not bound by US sanctions against Iran

ANKARA - The Associated Press
Turkey: Not bound by US sanctions against Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) shakes hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) at the presidential office in Tehran on January 5, 2012. AFP Photo

Turkey, which imports oil and gas from Iran, says it is only bound by U.N. sanctions against its eastern neighbor, despite the U.S. campaign to sanction Iran further over its nuclear program.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Turkey would evaluate the content of the U.S. sanctions but it "does not feel it is bound by any other sanctions." Unal spoke during a weekly news conference, which followed a meeting between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani.

On Thursday, Japan pledged to buy less Iranian oil, boosting the U.S. campaign a day after China reacted coolly to the idea. Japan imports about 10 percent of its oil from Iran while Turkey imports about 30 percent from Iran.

The sanctions aim to halt what Western governments say is Iran's effort to develop nuclear weapons. Iran, however, insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The sanctions, targeting the oil industry, would bar financial institutions from the U.S. market if they do business with Iran's central bank.

Iran has threatened to respond to sanctions by shutting the Strait of Hormuz, a transit route for a fifth of the world's oil.

China has criticized U.S. sanctions on Iran, approved by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve, as improper and ineffective. Beijing supported U.N. sanctions on Iran's nuclear program but says action should be multilateral.

Davutoğlu, who visited Tehran last week, said Turkey was ready to host further talks with world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, recently said he had called on the six powers the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to resume talks.