Turkey: We Will Get Around US Sanctions Against Iran

Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey is looking into establishing new trade mechanisms with Iran, like taking part in the INSTEX system created by European countries to avoid U.S. sanctions reimposed last year on exports of Iranian oil.

“Along with the existing mechanisms, we evaluated how we can establish new mechanisms, like INSTEX … how we can remove the obstacles before us and before trade,” Cavusoglu told a news conference after talks with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. He did not give further details about the mechanism so far.

“What is important here is the solidarity and determination between us,” added Minister Cavusoglu.

The Europeans introduced INSTEX as a non-dollar direct payment channel to avoid U.S. sanctions for doing business with Iran after Washington withdrew from the Obama-signed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In late January, the UK, France, and Germany unveiled the INSTEX system aimed at enabling European companies to continue trade with Iran. Iran set up its own “matching” system less than a month ago.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Tehran was pleased with Ankara’s position.

“Turkey has once again proved that its relations with Iran are significant and are aimed at the welfare of the two nations,” Zarif added.

In October 2017, the Turkish and Iranian central banks formally agreed to trade in their local currencies after previously using the euro for settlements.

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Tehran in November 2018 at the unilateral decision of the U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the JCPOA last May, even though Iran had been fully compliant with the denuclearization deal.

Simultaneously, the U.S. has granted eight countries, including India, South Korea, Japan, China and Turkey so-called “waivers” that gives them the right to continue to import Iranian oil without incurring sanctions.

Spokesperson for the Turkish government, Ibrahim Kalin, told reporters in Washington Tuesday that Turkey expected the United States to extend Ankara’s trade waiver.