Turkey's growing ties with Iran angers Washington

Turkey`s growing ties with Iran angers Washington Tehran: Turkey's growing ties with Iran has angered the United States so much that Washington officials have warned Ankara they could take punitive actions if the Iranian neighbor continues to expand ties and cooperation with Tehran.

Ankara's growing ties with Tehran recently prompted Washington to dispatch senior US Treasury official Roger Cohen to Ankara, who said as trade increases and financial ties expand, it runs counter to the United States' desire to constrain Iran and to ensure the choice that has been put to the Iranian leadership between continued defiance and integration with the western policies, is as sharp as possible.

Over the past several years Iran and Turkey have in increased their cooperation in many economic fields, including energy, security, trade, education and culture.

Turkish politician Volkan Bozkir, who heads Parliament's foreign affairs committee, rejected the US threats, commenting, "Countries should be careful in warning Turkey (that) it's not the country of 10 years ago. Is there any rule in the world that the US can impose any sanctions without any UN support or legal institutions? It's only the UN which can impose sanctions. We will abide by the UN sanctions."

The Obama administration has reportedly warned Turkish banks operating in the US that they could face prosecution if they violate either US or UN sanctions imposed by Iran.

According to a Turkish diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity, at least one Turkish bank is currently under investigation by the US government.