US warns Turkish companies on Iran ties

August 20, 2010

Turkish companies that keep their relations with Iran in defiance of sanctions risk having all business ties with the United States severed, a US government delegation to Turkey has reportedly said.

“A team from the Treasury Department visited Turkey this week and discussed the new US legislation on the UN decision [to impose] sanctions against Iran,” Deborah Guido, the spokeswoman of the US embassy to Turkey, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday. “There are Turkish companies that want to do business with the United States and they should be aware of the latest law.”

Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported on Friday that a US delegation was Ankara in order to discuss outcomes of the new US Iranian Sanctions Law, which was influenced by the United Nations Security Council’s view that “Iran is funding its arms through its energy sector.”

The law targets Iran’s energy sector and states that companies doing business with Iran will be blacklisted by the US and will be subject to sanctions.

Since the law binds third countries that have relations with Iran, Turkey also would be affected, the officials said.

According to the daily, “all companies investing in the Iranian energy sector above a certain amount will be on the US blacklist.”

Washington had led the international community into backing a fourth round of United Nations sanctions against Iran on June 9, cold-shouldering a Turkey-Brazil-brokered nuclear swap plan. The UN sanctions were followed by unilateral punitive measures imposed by the US and the European Union.

In addition to the sanctions threat, firms that continue relations with Iran risk losing all business connections with the United States. The sanctions will be carried out in nine areas, from import-export permits to credit opportunities.

The US has said that the banking sector, including government banks, must take action in order to put effective international pressure on Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

The US law, passed on July 1, contains a list of international private and state-owned banks – including Turkish banks – having connections with Iranian banks. These banks have been warned to cease money transfers to their Iranian counterparts or risk losing relations with the US.

The US has already rejected Turkish claims that enforcing sanctions on Iran would be difficult.

“Turkey is not the only neighbouring country doing business with Iran. These difficulties do not pertain only to Turkey. This is not a trade embargo. It is a controlled effort that will take time and energy and its legitimacy lies in UN decisions,” the U.S. said, according to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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