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US exports to Iran, mostly grain, rise nearly one-third despite sanctions

Published on Oct 15, 2012 1:58 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US exports to Iran rose by nearly a third this year, chiefly because of grain sales, according to US data released last week, despite the tightening of US financial sanctions.

The jump to US$199.5 million (S$243.9 million) in the first eight months of 2012 from $150.8 million a year earlier, according to Census Bureau data, is surprising given Western efforts to isolate Iran economically because of its suspected pursuit of nuclear arms.

The increase masks a drop in the export of some humanitarian goods such as medicines, a decline US exporters blame largely on the difficulty of getting paid by Iranian importers because of new US financial sanctions.

But it also shows that goods such as milk products and medical equipment - whose sale to Iran is allowed with a Treasury Department export licence - continue to flow despite the sanctions and the payments difficulties.

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