June 27, 2018 / 11:05 AM / in 21 days

UPDATE 1-U.S. call to halt Iran oil imports does not bind Turkey -economy minister

(Adds details, background)

ANKARA, June 27 (Reuters) - Turkey does not consider itself bound by the United States’ push to stop Iran exporting oil from November and will work to ensure that its “brother country” is not hurt by the U.S. move, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Wednesday.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday called on all countries to stop imports of Iranian oil from November and said it would not grant any waivers to sanctions, a hardline position the Trump administration says is meant to cut off funding to Iran.

The U.S. decision does not bind Turkey and it will work to ensure that Iran is not wronged, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Wednesday during a meeting in Ankara about trade with the European Free Trade Association.

“The decisions that the United States makes are not binding on us. We would be bound by any decisions taken by the United Nations,” Zeybekci said during a trade conference in Ankara.

“We will try to pay attention so that Iran, which is a friend and brother country, doesn’t experience injustice or is wronged in these matters.”

An Iranian official told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Wednesday that removing Iranian oil from the global market by November would be impossible, adding that Tehran exports 2.5 million barrels of crude and condensate per day.

The U.S. decision comes more than a month after President Donald Trump announced that his administration would back out of a deal agreed between Iran and six world powers in July 2015 aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.

Zeybekci also said during the Ankara conference that Turkey was unable to develop its exports to China because of tariff and non-tariff obstacles and would take measures to address this. He did not elaborate. (Reporting Nevzat Devranoglu; Writing by Dominic Evans and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Daren Butler and Gareth Jones)

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