Turkey’s foreign minister objected to the Trump administration’s demand that it slash imports of Iranian petroleum products in six months, arguing that the time frame is too tight given his country’s reliance on its neighbor for energy supplies.
“I cannot diversify my energy sources in six months or two years,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a briefing in Washington after meeting with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Bloomberg reported.
“Nobody is in favor of supporting these sanctions — it is a unilateral decision of the United States.”
Turkey was among the eight governments that got US waivers to keep importing Iranian oil even after President Donald Trump’s administration imposed punishing sanctions on the Iran energy and banking sectors as part of the decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord.
The US is demanding those countries reduce imports by a significant amount by the time the 180-day review period ends for the first round of waivers.
Cavusoglu said the US had not given Turkey details on how much it would be expected to cut.
Earlier this month, Turkey’s energy minister said the US exemption only applies to a quarter of Turkey’s oil imports from Iran, meaning it will need to cut its purchases of Iranian crude to about 3 million tons, compared with the 11.5 million tons it bought last year.