News ID: 270221
Published: 0115 GMT June 15, 2020

Iran urges resumption of gas exports to Turkey

Iran urges resumption of gas exports to Turkey

Tehran, Ankara working to reopen border

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday stressed the need to resume gas exports and repair the damaged section of the gas pipeline transferring Iranian gas to the neighboring country.

Zarif made the comments in Istanbul during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu while visiting Turkey as the first dignitary since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in March.

Natural gas exports from Iran to Turkey came to a halt in April after an explosion and fire at a pipeline on the Turkish side of the border.

Zarif further expressed solidarity with and support for Turkey in the fight against the pandemic.

The top diplomats also weighed plans to make up for a decline in trade exchanges between Tehran and Ankara over the past four months due to restricting regulations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

In two rounds of negotiations, the two sides agreed on holding a virtual meeting of the Astana Process Summit in the coming weeks before a summit in Tehran as soon as possible, and also discussed the issues relating to Syria, Yemen, Libya, and the fight against terrorism.

After the meeting, Zarif and Cavusoglu held a joint press conference.

Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s opposition to US sanctions on Iran, saying the coronavirus pandemic has shown that the world needs greater cooperation and solidarity.

“Iran’s stability and peace are important to us,” Cavusoglu said. “We oppose unilateral sanctions. In fact, the pandemic has taught us that the world needs greater cooperation and solidarity.”

Zarif said the US had “tightened the sanctions in order to damage the Iranian economy during the pandemic.” He thanked Turkey for its support.

US President Donald Trump imposed heavy sanctions on Iran after he withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018. 

Zarif also said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would visit Iran and sign trade agreements.

Meanwhile, the ministers said the two countries were working toward reopening their borders for travelers and plan to restart flights between Turkey and Iran on August 1.

The border was closed after the coronavirus outbreak, which hit Iran particularly hard. It has since been reopened for trade only.

Zarif will travel to Moscow where he is set to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

According to TASS, their discussion will revolve around bilateral ties, the nuclear deal, and regional developments.

AP and IFP contributed to this story.



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