TURKISH MINISTER SAYS IRAN WON'T CLOSE STRAIT OF HORMUZ
- Iran's recent statements concerning the Strait of Hormuz and the crisis regarding ties with the U.S. have moderated. Therefore, the strait will not be closed, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yıldız said in an interview with Cumhurriyet yesterday, January 15.
"Both parties softened their positions on this issue, after realizing it will be impossible to attain their goals by force," the Minister said.
A number of Iranian leaders threatened to prevent all shipping movement through the Strait of Hormuz connecting the Persian and Oman gulfs. These statements were supported by large-scale naval exercises including rocket firing that took place in the waters of the Strait earlier this month. If Tehran shifts from words to actions then it will hit oil exporters, mainly Saudi Arabia as well as consumers, who are almost all Western countries.
According to the minister, the sanctions imposed on Iran, are still the subject of long debates. He added that Iran is Turkey's neighbor and partner, so that country should act within bilateral relations. "Turkey and Iran can implement many interesting projects," Mr. Yildiz said.
Unilateral sanctions by the U.S., Great Britain and Canada have been applied against the energy and financial sectors of the Iranian economy. The French authorities support the introduction of new, unprecedented sanctions, including freezing of assets of the Iranian Central Bank, as well as the suspension of Iranian oil purchase. The Japanese authorities expressed their willingness to reduce imports of Iranian oil.
The reason for new sanctions was the IAEA report. According to it, Iran conducted operations aimed at developing nuclear weapons until 2003 and that this activity may still be underway. The U.S., Israel and several Western countries suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons, whereas the Iranian government claims its nuclear program to be of peaceful nature, Trend reported.
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