Zarif condemns U.S. sanctions on neighboring Turkey

December 15, 2020 - 15:56

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced the recent U.S. sanctions against Turkey, highlighting the fact that Iran attaches great importance to its neighbors.

“U.S. addiction to sanctions and contempt for international law at full display again,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday.

“We strongly condemn recent U.S. sanctions against Turkey and stand with its people and government,” he added.

It came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump implemented penalties against Turkey for its purchase of a Russian missile defense system more than a year ago.

The sanctions, announced by the U.S. Treasury, targeted Turkey's defense procurement agency, known as the Presidency of Defense Industries, and its senior officials, including its president.

Turkey acquired the missile defense system, known as the S-400, in July 2019. The purchase violated a sweeping sanctions law passed in 2017 in the House and Senate to push the U.S. government toward a tougher stance on Russia.

Zarif’s rebuke of the U.S. sanctions came days after Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited a poem with separatist sentiments that caused anger among Iranians.

The poem implies that the Azeri-populated Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan were separated from the Republic of Azerbaijan.  

“Pres. Erdogan was not informed that what he ill-recited in Baku refers to the forcible separation of areas north of Aras from Iranian motherland. Didn't he realize that he was undermining the sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan? NO ONE can talk about OUR beloved Azerbaijan,” Zarif wrote in a tweet on Friday.

Later in the day, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador to protest Erdogan’s controversial poem.

According to the Treaty of Gulistan on 24 October 1813, which was signed after the first full-scale 1804-1813 Russo-Persian War, what is now Daghestan, eastern Georgia, most of the Republic of Azerbaijan and parts of northern Iran were ceded to the Russian Empire. 

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called Zarif on Saturday evening to assure him that his country respects the Islamic Republic of Iran’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

During the phone conversation, Cavusoglu underlined the close and friendly relations between Turkey and Iran, and highlighted Ankara’s definite policy of good neighborliness.

He also assured Zarif that Erdogan fully respects Iran’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Cavusoglu explained that President Erdogan had not been aware of the sensitivities surrounding the lines he recited in Baku and associated the poem only with Lachin and Karabakh, which is why he recited it in the recent event in Azerbaijan. 

MH/PA

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