Iran, Turkey to double trade volume, scrap US dollar

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Tehran and Ankara have decided to double the volume of bilateral trade while phasing out the US dollar as the dominant currency for their transactions.

The Turkish chief executive made the remarks following his recent visit to Iran during which he met and conferred with high ranking Iranian officials, including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

“I believe there is some trouble with transferring funds due to the sanctions [imposed on Iran],” Erdogan was quoted by Turkey’s Daily Sabah on Thursday.

He added, “We … want bilateral trade to be conducted in local currencies. Iranian Central Bank officials and our Halk Bank chairman will discuss the matter.”

Referring to his negotiations in Tehran about a possible discount on price of Iran’s exported gas to Turkey, the Turkish president said, “The matter is now in the relevant ministers’ hands. They will discuss it and hopefully reach an agreement.”

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Erdogan arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on the official invitation of his Iranian counterpart for a one-day visit on Tuesday.

Once in Tehran, he took part in a joint press conference with Iran’s president, expressing willingness to buy more natural gas from Iran should Tehran lower the price.

“We purchase 90-95 percent of Iran’s exported natural gas. If its price were lowered, of course we would increase the amount of natural gas we buy from Iran,” he added.

Iran reportedly charges Turkey $490 for every 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas it exports to its neighbor. Turkey claims that the Republic of Azerbaijan and Russia supply gas to Turkey at $335 and $425 per 1,000 cubic meters, respectively.

Turkish officials have already said they view Iran as a possible supply source for the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline whose construction is planned to be completed in 2018.

The Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline is part of the Southern Gas Corridor seen by the European Union as an alternative to Europe-bound supplies via Russian gas pipelines.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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