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How US sanctions facilitate Turkish-Iranian understanding on Syria

Faced with US pressures on multiple fronts, Iran and Turkey are likely to step up cooperation — including in Syria, where the two neighbors remain at odds over multiple issues.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC15CF69EA60

US President Donald Trump’s recent decision not to extend the sanctions waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil has been met with widespread reaction around the world. One of the main negative responses to the new American move has come from Turkey, Washington’s NATO ally, which has been one of the remaining customers of Iranian oil and natural gas.

Criticizing the Trump administration’s new restrictive measure against Tehran, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, “We do not accept unilateral sanctions and impositions on how we build our relationship with our neighbors.” Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Mehmet Cahit Turhan said following a visit to Tehran on April 29 that the American sanctions cannot alter Turkish-Iranian relations.

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