Turkey has U.S. waiver on Iran sanctions: minister

FILE PHOTO - Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez speaks to media on board the drilling vessel Fatih off the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has been told it will receive a waiver on U.S. sanctions against Iranian oil sales, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday.

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

Washington says it will temporarily allow eight “jurisdictions” to keep importing Iranian oil when the sanctions come back into force on Monday.

“Just a while ago ministry officials brought the news that the U.S. Secretary of State made a statement on limiting or lifting of sanctions for eight countries including Turkey,” Donmez told reporters.

He said he welcomed the move, as Turkey had previously warned that the U.S. sanctions would “negatively impact the peace and economy of neighboring countries like Turkey”.

NATO member Turkey depends heavily on imports to meet its energy needs and neighboring Iran has been one of its main sources of oil because of its proximity, the quality of its crude and favorable price differentials.

An industry source said last month Turkey had already made efforts to cut its purchases ahead of the U.S. sanctions, but would prefer to keep up some level of Iranian oil imports past November.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Dominic Evans and Peter Graff