TEHRAN, May 31 (UPI) -- In a development fraught with significance for Turkish-U.S. relations, Iran has become Turkey's leading provider of crude oil.
Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority noted the development in a report, the Tehran Times reported Tuesday.
The development represents a new challenge for the United States, which has repeatedly tightened sanctions on Iran over its nuclear energy program. Tehran insists the program is for peaceful purposes but Washington and other Western countries, maintain that it conceals a covert nuclear weapons program.
During the period January-March, EPDK reported that Iran exported more than 1.8 million tons of crude oil to Turkey, accounting for 30 percent of Turkey's crude imports.
During the first two months of 2011, bilateral trade between Iran and Turkey surpassed $2.1 billion, while in 2010 bilateral trade value was worth $10.6 billion in 2010, a 97 percent increase over 2009 statistics.
The Turkish Statistical Institute reported that bilateral trade value will surpass $15 billion in 2011 under the terms of a preferential trade agreement.