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Turkey not to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran: spokesman

(Xinhua)

10:33, January 13, 2012

ANKARA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Turkey said it will not comply with new U.S. sanctions against Iran, despite Washington campaigning for further sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

"Turkey does not feel it is bound by any sanctions taken unilaterally or as a group, other than those imposed by the Chapter Seven of United Nations Charter," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal told a news conference.

"We favor a settlement to the nuclear dispute through diplomatic means," said Unal.

The United States has ratcheted up pressure on Tehran with a new round of sanctions aiming to halt what Western governments say is Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

The sanctions target oil industry of Iran in an attempt to bar financial institutions from the U.S. market from doing business with Iran's central bank.

Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (Tupras), the biggest crude oil importer of the country, purchases a great amount of oil from Iran. "Tupras is continuing its imports and as of today there has been no change on our roadmap," Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Thursday.

Turkey vetoed a UN decision of sanctions against Iran in 2009, arguing that the problem should be solved through diplomatic means.

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited Tehran and discussed the issue of resuming nuclear talks with Western countries. Turkey hosted a round of nuclear talks in January 2011 between Iran and G5+1, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, but the two sides failed to reach any agreement.

"The Iranian side said they were determined and agreed to resume talks (on its nuclear program)," Davutoglu said earlier at a press conference held in Ankara.

Unal said no date or venue has yet been agreed upon to resume nuclear talks, adding that "if a demand or a request is conveyed to us to host nuclear talks, we will consider it favorably," he said.

Meanwhile, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a former nuclear negotiator, on Thursday met with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament speaker Cemil Cicek and Davutoglu.

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