ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkey rejects the unilateral US decision not to extend sanctions waivers on Iran's oil imports for some countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.
"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 neighbours," Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
In the meantime, Iraq has expressed concern that the United States may extend its Iran sanctions to also ban gas exports from the Islamic republic, which play an important role in electricity generation in Iraq, a source close to the Iraqi government told Sputnik
"Iraq is not concerned by this decision because we do not import oil from Iran. We only import gas for electricity and some agricultural production purposes… Washington gave a [waiver] extension [to countries] importing Iranian oil a while back. However, the United States may put Iraq in an uncomfortable position, when the period [of the waiver] ends, because Iraq needs gas from Iran for the functioning of some of its power stations," the source said.
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian gas to feed its power grid. According to Iraq's Electricity Ministry, halting Iranian gas imports could cost Baghdad 4,000 megawatts per day. On Monday, the ministry's spokesman said that Iraq did not have any alternatives to replace Iran's gas imports.
The comments followed US President Donald Trump's decision not to reissue waivers to any country currently importing Iranian oil when they expire on May 2. Explaining the move, Washington reinstated its position on the issue, stressing that the aim of the decision was to bring Tehran's oil export to zero.
Beijing was among the first countries to react to US reported plans to scrap oil sanctions, expressing the same stance: it stressed it stands against Washington's unilateral restrictions against Tehran and will take every effort to defend the interests of national companies doing legal business with Iran.
Washington, in turn, said it was in discussions with other countries to help them wind down Iranian oil imports, underlying that no grace period would be issued after 1 May. In spite of the rising economic pressure, in one of the recent statements US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured that the Trump administration is not seeking regime change in Iran through direct military intervention.