Iran imported 2 million tonnes of wheat in four months despite sanctions
Reuters, Friday 10 Aug 2012
Iran has imported upped grain imports since spring despite potential difficulties in financing its purchases

Iran has imported more than 2 million tonnes of wheat in the first four months of the current Iranian year which started on March 20, student news agency ISNA reported on Friday, despite sanctions that have made it difficult for Tehran to finance its imports.

“In the first four months of the Iranian year, wheat imports reached 2.3 million tonnes. Based on the latest customs data, Iran has imported more than 806.6 million dollars’ worth of wheat from 13 countries,” ISNA reported.

Traders said in April Iran’s government were expected to start buying hundreds of thousands of tonnes of feed grains.

ISNA said Tehran had imported wheat from, among others, the United States, Switzerland, Russia, Germany and Brazil.

Reuters reported last week that Iran’s state grain buyer continued to build its strategic stocks as a drought-fuelled grain price rally kept food security on government radars.

Taking advantage of the recent correction lower in grain markets, after a steep rise in June and July, traders said Iran's purchase included German and Baltic Sea region wheat.

Iran’s Government Trading Corporation (GTC) contacts traders directly for offers, often making it difficult to glean details of total purchases.

Iranian grain imports are usually handled by the private sector but the state was compelled to step in and help with purchasing earlier this year because of the disruption to trade financing caused by sanctions aimed at Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Though food shipments are not targeted under Western sanctions aimed at Iran’s disputed nuclear program, financial measures have frozen Iranian firms out of much of the global banking system, hindering grain buying.