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Minister says US sanctions on Iran hit Turkey worst

This photo released in the Turkish media on September 18, 2019, shows Turkey’s minister for trade Ruhsar Pekcan addressing Turkish-Iranian Work Forum in Ankara.

Turkey’s Minister for Trade Ruhsar Pekcan says her country has been the worst hit by a series of American sanctions imposed on Iran.

Pekcan told a gathering of Iranian businessmen and government officials in Ankara that Turkey has lost more in trade revenues than any other country since Washington imposed its sanctions on Iran in November.

"Turkey has been  the most affected by the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Pekcan, according to comments covered on the website of the Turkish newspaper Sabah and a similar report by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

The minister said, however, that Ankara would continue to seek to expand its trade ties with Tehran despite the American pressures.

Turkey and Iran had been eyeing a major jump in bilateral trade before the sanctions started as a target of 30-billion in exchanges had been set in various documents signed by top officials of the neighboring countries.

Sanction has affected the trade, however, with current exchanges estimated to be around $12 billion. The hit of the bans has been mostly felt in Turkey’s import of energy and petrochemicals from Iran.

Iranian authorities said earlier this year that exports to Turkey had significantly decreased in June and July, allowing Ankara to post a surplus in trade with Iran for a first time in years.

Pekcan told the Wednesday meeting attended by the head of the office of the Iranian president Mahmoud Vaezi that Turkey and Iran would still be able to move toward the $30bn goal in bilateral trade given opportunities that could arise from a preferential trade agreement between the two countries.

She said a total of 166 Turkish companies have remained active in Iran despite the US sanctions while bringing to the country a total of $1.3 billion in investment.

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