‘Sanctions on Iran are wrong’: Turkey warns US

‘Sanctions on Iran are wrong’: Turkey warns US

Sevil Erkuş- ANKARA
‘Sanctions on Iran are wrong’: Turkey warns US

A Turkish delegation that recently visited Washington conveyed concerns about the ongoing embargo, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 17.

“We will continue telling the U.S. that the embargoes [on Iran] are wrong and unrealistic,” he said speaking at a joint news conference with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif

The Turkish delegation, which included Minister for Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak, “conveyed” Turkey’s concerns during meetings with American officials in Washington, Çavuşoğlu said. He noted that Albayrak discussed the case directly with U.S. President Donald Trump.

The delegation’s visit to Washington comes at a time when Ankara “expects” the Trump administration to extend it waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil.  Ankara was granted a waiver in November for its import of Iranian oil but has made a significant decrease in its oil purchases from Tehran.

Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey and Iran seek alternative mechanisms to overcome U.S. sanctions and continue bilateral trade in a bid to reach $30 billion in trade volume as agreed before. In their meeting, they discussed new mechanisms to conduct trade such as INSTEX, a payment channel EU has set up with Iran.

US decision on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is dangerous

Çavuşoğlu also said the U.S. decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is a dangerous development that could lead to chaos.

 “This is an extremely wrong decision,” he said, adding that listing foreign national armies as terror groups would lead to “dire” cracks in the international system and international law order.

“Then, trust in the global system will decline, and total chaos will ensue,” he added.

“Our conscience does not accept that the brotherly Iranian people be punished,” he said. “Such steps put regional stability, peace, calm and economic development under risk.”

Trump on April 8 said he would formally designate the force a “terrorist organization”.   The U.S. designation - the first-ever for an entire division of another government - adds another layer of sanctions to the powerful paramilitary Iranian force and makes it a crime under U.S. jurisdiction to provide it with material support.

Zarif briefs Ankara on talks with Assad 

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, for his part, said he submitted a report to Turkish officials to brief them about his talks with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

The Iranian minister said he would submit a report on his talks with al-Assad to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, adding that Iran wants to help Turkey and Syria establish “good relations.”

“I had a long interview with Bashar al-Assad. I will be giving details of these discussions to Mr. Erdogan as a report,” he stated. 

Zarif arrived in Turkey after visiting Syria on April 16 where he met al-Assad. Russia, Iran and Turkey, which back rival groups in Syria’s conflict, have been sponsoring a process to try to end the war.

His discussions in Damascus and Ankara come ahead of a fresh round of talks next week in Kazakhstan towards ending Syria’s eight-year civil war. Kazakhstan will host a fresh round of Syria talks on April 25-26 in its capital, recently renamed from Astana to Nur-Sultan.