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Iran metal exports may be harder to sanction than oil – Experts

Steel News - Published on Wed, 15 May 2019

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AFP reported that Iran, hard hit by US sanctions on its oil sales, now faces restrictions on metals exports but industry insiders say foreign income from mining and steel will be harder to curb. Tensions are soaring a year after Washington withdrew from a multilateral 2015 deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

A US aircraft strike group is heading for the Gulf and Tehran has said it will stop abiding by some restrictions on its nuclear activities.

US President Donald Trump last week imposed sanctions aimed at punishing anyone who buys or trades in Iranian iron, steel, aluminum or copper. That came after Washington in November reinstated sanctions aimed at slashing the Islamic republic’s oil exports, by far its top source of foreign currency.

But the steel and mining sector, Iran’s second-largest source of foreign revenue, may prove harder to target.

Experts said that relatively decentralized, made up of small and medium-sized companies and selling mostly to nearby countries, it is less vulnerable to sanctions.

Industry analyst Mojtaba Fereydouni said that “The US cannot completely stop exports. Some countries, companies with no US ties, are OK to work with Iran.” He added that “Also our main export markets are our neighbors — Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently Syria and Oman.”

He pointed out that Iranian metals firms, no strangers to sanctions, were relatively unscathed by an initial tranche of restrictions re-imposed last year.

According to official data, Iran’s mineral exports grew about 20% YoY to USD 6.2 billion in the 12 months to March, with steel making up over two-thirds of that figure.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 15 May 2019
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