Relations between Ankara and Washington have plummeted to their lowest point in decades over a range of issues, including the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson and Turkey’s push for buying the Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has lambasted a new round of US sanctions against Turkey, pledging Tehran’s full support for Ankara.
“We hope that the Turkish government and people will manage these conditions and pressure imposed from outside Turkey’s borders and […] they will definitely do that because others cannot change the willpower of nations through coercion and threats,” Qassemi told the Islamic Republic of Iranian Broadcasting (IRIB) news network.
He expressed hope that Iran and Turkey will continue to develop “good” bilateral relations and that the two countries will try to add to maintaining stability and security in the region.
Qassemi’s remarks came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that Washington’s “jubilation in inflicting economic hardship” on Turkey was “shameful.”
He urged Washington “to rehabilitate its addiction to sanctions and bullying or the entire world will unite — beyond verbal condemnations — to force it to.”
Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that he had authorized the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey, praising “the strong dollar” and drawing attention to the plummeting Turkish lira.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, in turn, vowed to retaliate against restrictive US measures, stressing that Washington will not obtain any tangible results from slapping sanctions on Turkey. The exchange rate of the Turkish lira plummeted more than 16 percent against the US dollar, reaching an all-time low following Trump’s announcement.
In early August, the US introduced sanctions against Turkey’s Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul and its Interior Minister for their leading roles in the imprisonment of US pastor Andrew Brunson and alleged human rights abuses.
Brunson was imprisoned about two years ago over his alleged collaboration with Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating the 2016 failed military coup in Turkey. The pastor was recently released from a Turkish prison and placed under house arrest.