Press TV – Iran and Turkey are negotiating the possibility of setting up joint industrial parks, Iranian deputy industry minister Mohsen Salehinia says.
“The Turks are demanding cheap Iranian energy for joint production and in case we manage to reach a conclusion with the ministry of energy, a joint town will be set up,” he told a news conference in Tehran.
Iranian officials have proposed two development plans in East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan provinces in northwest Iran and suggested several districts where the industrial parks are to be established, Salehinia said.
“Given the changes which have occurred in Turkey, we are waiting for a final word from the country’s authorities,” he added.
Turkey is currently a key importer of Iranian natural gas, with 11 billion cubic meters shifted along the Tabriz-Ankara pipeline annually.
Turkish leaders have said the country would not cut off trade ties with Iran at the behest of other countries after the United States demanded that all Iranian oil buyers stop their shipments.
“Iran is a good neighbor and we have economic ties. We are not going to cut off our trade ties with Iran because other countries told us so,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.
President Tayyip Erdogan has also said Turkey is looking to raise the volume of its annual trade with Iran to $30 billion from $10 billion.
Iranian central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati said in September that Iran, Turkey and Russia had agreed to remove the US dollar from their mutual transactions.
Turkey sourced more than 50 percent of its total crude supplies from Iran before the US imposed its second round of sanctions on Iran’s oil sector in November.
Dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs, Turkey is one of the eight countries which have received US waivers to continue Iranian oil imports until May.
On Saturday, Cavusoglu said Turkey was looking for the US to change its mind about its sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“The Iran sanctions affect us, but through constant efforts, we became one of the countries exempted. This was initially done through May, but we’re trying to extend the period,” he told the Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We’re working hard for the US to change this decision. We’re not alone. EU members and other European countries agree with us,” he added.