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31 January 2012 - 11:35

Turkey has defied Western calls to ban Iranian crude imports, saying Ankara will not go along with the EU and US sanctions on Iranian oil.

A Turkish Energy Ministry spokesman said on Monday, “We are not bound by EU or US decisions.”

On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ruled out the possibility of Ankara complying with the unilateral sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, saying Turkey is currently trying to facilitate talks between Tehran and Western nations on Iran's nuclear program.

Turkey imports a significant amount of Iranian oil for its biggest petrochemical company, Tupras, which operates four refineries with a total of 28.1 million tons of annual crude oil processing capacity.

Russia, India, and China have also criticized the West's sanctions on Iranian crude.

On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions on Iran and announced that the United States would begin penalizing other countries for importing Iranian oil or conducting transactions with the country's central bank.

European Union ministers reached an agreement on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran within the bloc, and ban the sale of diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Iran.

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News ID 181442