After a three year halt, Iran to resume wheat exports
: Iran will resume its status as wheat exporter, following an extended period of inclement weather that saw severe declines in domestic production.
April 19, 2010 11:15 by Katherine Azmeh
Iran will export 2 million tons of wheat to three Arab countries in May after a halt lasting three years, the official IRNA news agency quoted a senior official as saying on Sunday.
“The government has issued permission to export 2 million tons of wheat in (the Iranian month of) Ordibehesht (May) to Oman, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates,” Deputy Commerce Minister Hamid Alikhani told IRNA.
In 2004, Iran celebrated self-sufficiency in wheat production but cold winter weather in 2007-08 followed by drought hit agricultural output and forced it to resume importing the grain.
An Iranian newspaper said in December the Islamic Republic imported 4 million tons of wheat in the past eight months, paying the equivalent of around $1 billion.
Another media report earlier last year said Iran imported 5.9 million tons of wheat in the 2008-09 year, of which about 15 percent came from the United States.
Iran had stopped buying US wheat after its 1979 revolution, which ousted the pro-US government.
Iran prefers to buy wheat from Central Asian countries, Australia and Argentina.
One official said late last year Iran was importing wheat from the United States via intermediaries, in the first official admission that such an indirect trade was taking place.
Food and agricultural products are not included in US sanctions imposed on Iran.