May 3, 2013


Germany's wheat exports to Iran remain high despite Western sanctions


In the period between July 2012 and the end of February 2013, Germany's wheat exports to Iran reached 1.024 million tonnes against 63,000 tonnes in the same period a year earlier.


Germany exported 119,653 tonnes of wheat to Iran in February, figures from the German statistics agency showed on Thursday (Apr 25), suggesting that Western sanctions against Tehran are not hindering sales.


"Iran is the main customer for German wheat this season, by far the biggest customer for the total 1.9 million tonnes exported since July," a German trader said. "The sanctions do not seem to be troubling wheat sales to Iran."


Germany had also exported 125,577 tonnes of wheat to Iran in January 2013 and 129,000 tonnes of wheat to Iran in December 2012.


The EU and the US have imposed toughened sanctions meant to discourage Tehran's nuclear programme, which they say has a military purpose. Iran rejects these allegations, insisting that its atomic programme is peaceful.


Western sanctions do not target food shipments, but financial measures have frozen Iranian companies out of much of the global banking system, hindering payments for imports on which Iran relies for much of its food.


European traders said on March 21 that Iran's state grain buyer GTC had bought 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat, with 60,000 tonnes due for shipment from Australia and 60,000 tonnes from Germany.


On March 15 traders said that a ship was due in a German port to load about 55,000 tonnes of wheat for Iran.