Turkey to continue importing Iranian oil after Saudi talks

By Brien Southward

Turkey does not plan to cut oil imports from Iran, despite immense pressure from the West to limit economic exchange with Iran, according to a report from Reuters. With this decision Turkey joins a few other nations, including China, who have refused to cooperate with Western attempts to cripple Iran's economy as a way to force Tehran to end its nuclear energy program.

Sanctions from the European Union and the United States have already affected oil production in Iran, which has fallen off rapidly even as nations like China and India have said they will continue importing Iranian oil. So far the embargo has not spread beyond the EU and the US, however. A Turkish energy official said that "Turkey will continue to buy from Iran unless the United Nations supports/endorses the EU and U.S. oil embargo."

During a meeting over the weekend in Riyadh between high-ranking Turkish and Saudi officials, Turkey declined to increase imports from Saudi Arabia, the world's only oil exporter with enough surplus to fill the gap in the market caused by the embargo on Iranian oil, despite initial signs that they would.

Turkey's decision comes as a surprise to some, because both nations have rivalries with Iran, and because Turkey has repeatedly attempted to gain the favor of the West and even join the European Union. Its decision not to go with the demands of the West is another sign that Turkey's relationship with the European Union has been at an all-time low. With the European Union falling into a state of disarray, however, Turkey may see accumulating cheap Iranian oil as a safer bet.

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