President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized U.S. prosecutors for bringing charges against a former Turkish minister accused of laundering money on behalf of Iran, calling it a politically motivated act against Turkey.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Erdogan said he had made it clear to the previous U.S. administration that Turkey wouldn’t take part in any sanctions against neighboring Iran, and that former Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan was simply executing the policies of his government.

The latest developments threaten to deepen a diplomatic row that began more than a year ago when Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, was arrested in the U.S. Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, has repeatedly protested the prosecution of its nationals, who are charged with helping Iran to facilitate payments through the U.S. financial system at a time when sanctions were being tightened in response to the country’s nuclear program.

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