Iran Slams Turkey for Delaying Imports
Iran’s oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has criticised Turkey for delaying the restart of gas imports and for rejecting its offer to repair the import line damaged on Turkish territory by a blast March 31, Iranian TV reported May 25.
This is the eleventh such terrorist event in 15 years and on past occasions it has always been repaired in one or two weeks.
According to Turkish energy regulator Emra’s statistics, Iran exported 7.735bn m3 gas to Turkey in 2019, 1.6% less than in 2018. In January and February 2020 Turkey took 1.47bn m³ of Iranian gas, slightly less than in the same period in 2019.
Official statistics indicate that Turkey’s total imports from Iran plunged to just $33.3mn in March, compared with $652mn in March 2019. Turkey stopped importing Iranian oil in May 2019 following US sanctions on Tehran.
Turkey closed its borders with Iran on February 23, just two days after Tehran officially announced there were cases of Covid-19 in the country. Iran's government has been under heavy criticism at home and abroad for allegedly concealing the cases for a month while the disease spread into its neighbours' territory. Tehran claims it was open about the pandemic.
Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, also called on Turkey to re-open the borders May 24, but so far has had no response from Ankara.