Turkey on Monday reiterated its opposition to U.S. sanctions on neighboring Iran, saying the coronavirus pandemic has shown that the world needs greater cooperation and solidarity.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the comments in Istanbul during a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is the first dignitary to visit Turkey since its outbreak began in March.
“Iran’s stability and peace is important for us,” Cavusoglu said. “We oppose unilateral sanctions. In fact, the pandemic has taught us that the world needs greater cooperation and solidarity.”
Zarif said the U.S. had “tightened the sanctions in order to damage the Iranian economy during the pandemic.” He thanked Turkey for its support.
President Donald Trump imposed heavy sanctions on Iran after he withdrew the United States from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers in May 2018. American officials contend Iran is working to obtain nuclear-capable missiles, which the Iranians deny.
Meanwhile, the ministers said the two countries were working toward reopening their border for travelers and plan to restart flights between Turkey and Iran on August 1.
The border was closed after the coronavirus outbreak, which hit Iran particularly hard. It has since been reopened for trade only.