Turkey rules out heeding US action on Iran trade
AFP, Tuesday 8 Feb 2011
Turkey plans no action against Istanbul-based companies implicated in a US case of illegal exports to Iran


Turkey plans no action against Istanbul-based companies implicated in a US case of illegal exports to Iran, foreign trade minister Zafer Caglayan said Tuesday.

"This is America's black list, not ours. We are bound by UN Security Council resolutions" on sanctions against Iran, Caglayan told reporters.

"Turkey has its own laws... It is out of the question for us to impose any sanctions against those companies or to ban their activities outside the framework defined by Turkish law," he said.

His remarks echoed Ankara's position that it will abide by UN sanctions against its eastern neighbour, but not by tougher restrictions imposed unilaterally by the United States and the European Union.

Turkey is "strictly" implementing the UN sanctions, Caglayan said, adding the country had also its own mechanism to control the trade of materials used in armament and those with "duel use."

An Iranian man, Milad Jafari, has been charged in the United States with exporting specialized metals to his homeland through companies in Turkey for potential use in nuclear and ballistic missile programs, in violation of a US embargo.

The US Treasury Department said last week it has moved to freeze all US assets belonging to Jafari, his brother, their mother and father, and two Jafari associates in Turkey.

Jafari and associates allegedly operated "a procurement network that provides direct support to Iran's missile program by securing metal products, including steel and aluminum alloys, for subordinates of Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO)."

Caglayan said the issue concerned three companies registered in Istanbul, whose dominant share-holders were Iranians and had Turkish partners.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran's nuclear programme masks a drive to build an atomic bomb, an accusation the Islamic republic denies.

In June, Turkey, then a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, voted against a fourth round of sanctions the body approved against Iran, arguing that a nuclear fuel swap deal it had negotiated together with Brazil the previous month should be given a chance.

Ankara has insisted it wants to boost trade with Iran.

"Our trade volume has reached 10 billion dollars. Our target for 2015 is to increase this to 30 billion dollars," Caglayan said.

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