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EghtesadOnline: Halk Bank of Turkey will continue to handle Iran’s commercial transactions despite the mounting US pressure, Turkish ambassador to Iran told the head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Monday.

“Halk Bank continues to cooperate with Iran despite the US threats,” Derya Ors said, noting that the bank currently handles  85% of the bilateral trade, the TCCIM website reported. 

Ors pointed to the restrictions on Iran’s oil industry as the main obstacle to developing two-way economic relations, saying “Turkey is looking for ways to continue buying Iranian oil”. 

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran after pulling out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Washington has said it wants to bring “Iran’s crude oil sales to zero.” Tehran has made it known in unambiguous terms that it won’t let that happen come what may, according to Financial Tribune.

Ors said the private sector in Turkey is ready to cooperate with Iranian companies despite the US threats, underscoring the need to build economic ties. 

Referring to agreements reached in the Iran-Turkey Economic Commission last month, the senior diplomat recalled that the two countries are focused on preferential trade.  

Ankara hosted the 27th meeting of Iran-Turkey Economic Commission last month.

The commission was co-chaired by Mahmoud Vaezi, the chief of staff to President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez.


$30 Billion Target 

Ors made reference to the $30 billion trade anticipated between the two neighbors, acknowledging the detrimental effects of US sanctions on realizing the lofty goal. 

“Data has it that the volume of trade between the two sides reached $22 billion in 2012. But there has been a slowdown due to the US sanctions,” he said.    

The  TCCIM head, Masoud Khansari, underscored both countries’ efforts to maintain close economic relations despite the US-imposed difficulties. 

“Even though the $30 billion trade target has not been realized, yet, the doors for expanding cooperation are not shut, ” Khansari said.  

Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration on non-oil trade show liquefied natural gas, non-alloy zinc, aluminum, urea and bitumen were Iran’s main goods exported to Turkey. 

Turkish exports to Iran mainly included cooking bananas, tobacco and fiber in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19).

Tehran and Ankara have ramped up efforts in recent years to boost trade, setting a $30-billion annual target and signing agreements to enhance cooperation in diverse fields.

Turkey is one of Iran’s major trading partners but has come under pressure from Washington to stop working with Tehran. The government in Ankara has often stressed that the US demands to stop purchasing Iranian oil and gas is irrelevant and does not make economic sense. 

Turkey US pressure Iran trade Tehran Chamber of Commerce Continue Halk Bank Managing commercial transactions