US delegation to discuss Iran sanctions with Turkish officials

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U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they arrive for a working dinner at the Art and History Museum in The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Geert Vanden Wijngaert

A US delegation of Treasury and State Department officials will meet with Turkish authorities on Friday to discuss sanctions targeting Iran, Reuters reported, citing an official from Turkey’s foreign ministry.

“A US delegation currently holding talks in India will be visiting Ankara on Friday regarding sanctions against Iran,” the foreign ministry official told Reuters.

“The delegation will meet with related institutions, including from the foreign and finance ministries.”

A US Embassy spokesman confirmed that the talks would take place on Friday and would focus on Iran sanctions.

Two months ago President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and other world powers and ordered tough US sanctions on Tehran.

A senior State Department official said last month Washington had told its allies to cut imports of Iranian oil by November — a call that Ankara has publicly resisted.

“Iran is a good neighbor and we have economic ties. We are not going to cut off our trade ties with Iran because other countries told us to,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said three weeks ago.

Turkey, a NATO ally, is dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs. In the first four months of this year, Turkey bought more than 3 million tons of crude oil from Iran, almost 55 percent of its total crude supplies, according to data from Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

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