Press TV – Iranian traders say a new round of American sanctions enacted following a recent flare-up of tensions between the two countries would fail to impact a current growth in Iran’s mining and metals sector.
“The new round of sanctions would not cause any substantial change in the conditions of steel manufacturers and other targeted industries,” said Bahador Ehramian, a board member at the Iranian Steel Producers Association (ISPA), on Sunday.
“It is because the US has already included Iran’s entire (metals) industry in the sphere of its sanctions,” Ehramian told the IRNA agency.
Washington imposed a series of wide-ranging bans on Iran’s trade of metals in May 2019, exactly a year after it decided to pull out of a major nuclear deal between Iran and international powers.
The metals trade bans came on top of a series of harsh sanctions imposed on Iran’s sale of oil and gas which has traditionally accounted for the bulk of the country’s revenues over the years.
However, numerous reports and studies have shown that unlike the oil sanctions, the bans on metals have largely failed to halt Iran’s growing export of various mining products as cargoes are normally shipped through third countries, making it difficult for the US to spot the origin of the shipments.
A recent report by Iran’s ministry of industries showed that steel exports had surged by nearly a quarter year on year between March and November 2019 to reach 7.8 million tons or $3 billion in value terms.
US president Donald Trump said earlier this week that he would impose a new series of tough sanctions on Iran after the Iranian military fired missiles at US bases in Iraq in response to the US assassination of an Iranian military commander January 3.
However, traders said the new bans, which mostly target major Iranian steel companies, were nothing to worry about.
The Sunday report by IRNA said that unlike the oil industry, the metals sector in Iran was highly flexible in dealing with the US sanctions.
“The reality is that if the target is the export and currency sources of the major mining companies … this group would carry out its exports through some 2,000 private trade certificates of domestic and foreign origins,” said the report.
Reza Shahrestani, another board member at ISPA, said that the new bans would only give a little more leverage to Iran’s customers when they want to finalize the prices.
“The sanctions would slightly increase the bargaining power of the customers while it is expected that they would make it difficult to transfer money,” said Shahrestani.
Iran’s increased export of various mining products comes despite the fact that country maintains some harsh tariffs on export of raw metals, including iron ore.
The policy is largely aimed at allowing mills and smelters across the country to increase their output and export products that could generate more hard currency for the government.