Turkey and India break silence on Trump's Iran oil ban

Turkey and India break silence on Trump's Iran oil ban
Turkey lashed out at US President Donald Trump's decision to end sanction waivers on Iranian oil imports, while India says it is focusing on finding alternative suppliers.
3 min read
22 April, 2019
Israel hailed Trump's decision [Getty]
Turkey and Iran have broken their silence after US President Donald Trump ended sanction waivers for Tehran oil importers on Monday, with Ankara lashing out at Washington on the move.

Trump's decision means sanctions waivers for five nations - including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey - won't be renewed when they expire on 2 May.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted the decision to end sanction waivers for countries importing Iranian oil, saying the move "will not serve regional peace and stability".

"Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbours," he tweeted on Monday.

Cavusoglu added the decision would harm the people of Iran. He tagged the US State Department and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his tweet.

Already tense relations between the US and Turkey could be further tested by the move, Middle East analysts say.

"It is a problematic decision, given that Turkey is almost entirely dependent on energy imports with Iran making up around 20 percent of Ankara's oil needs, vs around 16 percent of gas imports," said Dr Ali Bakeer, Senior researcher and coordinator of Gulf studies - ORSAM.

The extent to which the US decision will affect Turkey economically, depends on many variables, such as the price of oil, Bakeer added.

"If prices go up, this will leave a negative impact on Turkey's stressed economy, and will probably have an implication on the price of the lira, too," he added.

"The decision will further complicate relations between the US and Turkey, and negatively affect the chances of resolving disagreements on key issues."

India, the second largest importer of Iranian oil after China, said it is studying alternative suppliers - a scenario policy makers were well-prepared for.

"Our crude sources are wide. We have alternate sources lined up to make up for any shortfall," an unnamed senior source told Times of India.

"As far as Indian Oil is concerned, supplies will not be a problem. We have already lined up alternative sources," he said adding the impact of Trump's decision might spark an increase in oil prices.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed the move as being "of great importance for increasing pressure on the Iranian terrorist regime".

"We stand with the United States' determination against Iranian aggression and this is the right way to stop it," he said.

Trump last year withdrew Washington from an accord negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, under which Iran drastically scaled back the ambitions of its nuclear programme in return for promises of sanctions relief.

The Trump administration - backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel - has instead unilaterally imposed sanctions on Tehran and demanded that other countries follow suit.

US officials say that they are aiming to choke off Iranian revenue in a way of reducing Tehran's regional clout, notably its support for militant groups such as Lebanon's Hizballah.

Agencies contributed to this report.