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Despite criticizing the U.S. decision not to extend any sanction waivers for Iranian oil customers, Turkey appears to be fully complying with the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing tanker tracking data.
Turkey was one of the eight buyers of Iranian oil that were given an initial six-month waiver to continue importing crude from Iran at reduced volumes after the U.S. slapped back sanctions on Iran in November last year. Under its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran, the U.S. ended all waivers for all Iranian customers as of early May.
On the day on which the U.S. announced that it was not extending any exemptions to any Iranian oil buyer, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted:
“The US decision to end sanctions waivers on Iran oil imports will not serve regional peace and stability, yet will harm Iranian people. Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbors.”
Earlier this month, Cavusoglu said that Turkey will not be able to “quickly” source oil from alternate sources after the end of the U.S. waivers.
“It does not seem possible for us to diversify the sources of the oil we import in a short time,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey’s refineries, according to the minister, are not equipped to process crude oil from just any other country, and would therefore require retooling—something that is not only time intensive but costly.
Related: War With Iran Could Send Oil To $250
However, so far in May—the first month in which the U.S. doesn’t allow any sanction waivers on Iran’s oil—no tanker loaded in Iran has arrived at a Turkish port, according to Refinitiv tanker tracking data cited by Reuters.
Turkey’s biggest refiner Tupras had tried to negotiate a waiver before the end of the previous exemptions, but it wasn’t granted such and made it clear it wouldn’t import oil from Iran, a source familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
Before the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May of 2018, Turkey was importing nearly half—or 47 percent—of its crude from Iran, according to Reuters data.
Subsequently, Turkey had reduced its imports from Iran and has started to buy more oil from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iraq, to replace Iranian barrels, according to analysts.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.