Turkey Complies with Oil Sanctions on Iran

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 11:45
Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey has closed its ports to Iranian oil, fully complying with US sanctions against its main supplier, despite Ankara publicly criticizing Washington’s move to end import waivers.

The US decision to fully re-impose sanctions on Iranian oil ended a six-month reprieve for Turkey and seven other big importers as Washington steps up attempts to isolate Iran and choke off its oil revenues.

Full compliance allows Turkey to avoid US sanctions.

Turkey's largest oil refiner Tupras had pressed Washington for an extension of the import waiver before the May 1 expiration, according to a person familiar with the talks, adding that when it was not granted the company made it clear it would halt all imports from Iran.

Tupras did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

According to Refinitiv tracking data, no tankers loaded in Iran have arrived at Turkish ports so far in this month.

Four days after the waiver ended, a tanker carrying 130,000 tons of Iranian crude was midway across the Mediterranean Sea to Turkey when it changed course and turned off its tracker, Refinitiv oil analyst Ehsan ul-Haq said.

The data shows that Turkey began trimming its Iranian imports as early as March.

Last week, Reuters reported that Iranian crude oil exports have fallen to 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) or lower this month, with the bulk heading to Asia, according to tanker data and industry sources.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has previously slammed the sanctions, saying they are destabilising for the region. In Washington last month, his spokesman said the country didn't want to be deprived of its right to buy oil and gas from Iran.

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