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Turkey opts to back away from Iranian oil

ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was encouraged by Turkish officials' decision to reduce the amount of crude oil the country imports from Iran.

U.S. President Barack Obama last week said there was enough non-Iranian crude oil in circulation to warrant additional sanctions on Tehran. The U.S. and European governments have targeted Iran's energy sector as a way to deprive Iran of revenue needed to support its nuclear program.

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Clinton, during talks with Turkish officials in Istanbul, said she was encouraged by decisions to cut Iranian crude oil imports by 20 percent.

"We will be consulting between Turkish and American experts as to how that can be operationalized because it's a complicated matter," she said. "The oil markets are complicated."

Energy analysts blame geopolitical tensions with Iran for at least part of general trend of increasing oil prices on the global market.

Turkish Pipeline Corp., known by its initials BOTAS, last weekend announced an increase of 18.7 percent in the price it charges its natural gas consumers, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reports.

BOTAS said, in a statement published by the news service, there was a "necessity to revise natural gas prices amid global oil price hikes and the Turkish lira's losing value against foreign currencies."

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Turkish natural gas prices are tied to crude oil.

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