Turkey has been attempting to convince the United States to allow refiner Tupras, its biggest oil importer, to continue buying crude oil from Iran without coming under sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday, reports Reuters.
Washington’s decision to no longer grant any Iran oil waiver exemptions was more stringent than anticipated, with a number of key importers, including Turkey, caught off guard.
Such major consumers of Iranian oil as the European Union and China didn’t hesitate to denounce Washington’s move to scrap oil sanctions waivers for Tehran's customers.
Beijing lashed out against the Trump administration's decision, saying that it would have ramifications for Middle East security.
China is one of the world's biggest importers of Iranian oil, along with India.
"China opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called 'long-arm jurisdictions' imposed by the US", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a press briefing on Monday. "Our cooperation with Iran is open, transparent, lawful and legitimate, thus it should be respected", he added.
China wasn't the only one of the targeted countries to rebuke the Trump administration's decision.
"Turkey rejects unilateral sanctions and impositions on how to conduct relations with neighbours", the country's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday on Twitter.
The sanctions could have significant consequences for those two countries in particular, say analysts, with China and Turkey struggling the most to reduce their Iranian oil supplies within such a short time frame.
On Monday, Washington announced that it would not renew its six-month waivers on sanctions, which were issued to eight major importers of Iranian oil − one of the main sources of revenues for the embattled Islamic Republic.
The sanction waivers were granted to China and seven other countries last year and are set to expire on 2 May.
Apart from trying to cut Tehran off from its main oil customers, Washington is also seeking to lock it out of the international banking system.
Earlier this month, the US designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an elite military unit, as a foreign terrorist organisation, with Tehran responding in kind by blacklisting the Central Command.
Last year, US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Obama-era nuclear deal with Tehran, under which Iran accepted restrictions on its nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of stern economic sanctions.