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Sanctions-strapped Iran recently bought over 1 million tons of wheat, most from EU: report

Beset by an unusually bad harvest year, Islamic Republic makes major wheat buys on international markets.

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Iran's agriculture sector has been hit with poor harvest year. Here, Iranian women hold sickles at a farm in the southwest Golestan province, an intensively cultivated farming region. (Henghameh Fahimi/AFP/Getty Images)

Struggling to cope with a poor harvest amid fresh economic sanctions, Iran has made huge wheat purchases on international markets recently, mostly from European suppliers, according to Reuters.

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Iran's state grains agency, the Government Trading Corporation, has reportedly bought some 1.1 tons of milling grain in the last two weeks, traders told Reuters today. 

The government usually leaves the wheat supply to the private sector, but has recently been forced to intervene in order to stave off an increasingly dire economic situation, said Reuters

Iran has been hit with a rash of sanctions aimed at discouraging work on its nuclear program, which Western countries fear is being used to make a nuclear bomb. Iran says the program is purely for civilian purchases.

The sanctions have taken a heavy toll on the Iranian population. "They don't have enough feed for animals, which means they are using milling wheat instead," one unidentified trader told Reuters today. 

Iran last week stepped up efforts to reopen wheat trade with India, according to the Press Trust of India, pushing for a deal that would make some two millions tons of wheat available to the Islamic Republic.

Iran and Pakistan, another major supplier, signed a one-million-ton wheat deal earlier this month. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120927/sanctions-strapped-iran-recently-bought-over-1-million