Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has condemned US sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of Russian air defence systems, as the top diplomat visited Istanbul to meet with his colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu and discuss regional and global issues. Zarif stressed that the tool of economic sanctions had become Washington's go-to option when it disagrees with the actions of another sovereign state.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns sanctions imposed by the US against Turkey. Unfortunately, the US government has been addicted to sanctions and this wrong policy will cost dearly for the whole world", the foreign minister stated.
The US has long opposed Ankara's decision to buy Russian S-400 air defence systems in 2017, claiming the system will be incompatible with the NATO defence grid, despite earlier having no issues with Greece buying S-300 systems. Washington also claimed that the S-400s will be able to detect vulnerabilities in the F-35 jets that Ankara had ordered and transmit the data to Moscow, despite both Russia and Turkey denying such a possibility. Although Turkey protested vehemently, the Trump administration still ruled to freeze jet sales to Ankara.
In addition, the US implemented sanctions under CAATSA against several Turkish entities involved in the purchase of S-400 systems. The new Biden administration doesn't appear to want to change these policies. Newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed Ankara's decision to buy Russian defence systems as "not acceptable" behaviour on the part of a "so-called strategic partner". Blinken further stated during his confirmation hearing that the Biden administration might expand anti-Turkish sanctions over the S-400s after reviewing the impact of existing ones.
Ankara repeatedly rejected Washington's demands to ditch the Russian air defence systems even when the White House offered to sell it Patriots – a defence system that Turkey originally sought to acquire years ago. At the time, the Obama administration stalled the deal forcing Ankara to seek alternatives and find them in the form of the S-400s. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country is ready to buy Patriots from the US, but will never ditch the S-400s defending the decision as being the sovereign right of Turkey to do so.