Iran and Turkey have resumed their trade of gold for natural gas and made a USD-120-million deal in February, circumventing tough US sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear energy program. Turkey exported almost USD 120 million worth of gold to Iran in February after it announced a moratorium in January, Reuters reported. Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) showed that Ankara sold no gold to Tehran in January as banks and dealers implemented the February 6 US sanctions targeting Iranian oil revenues. The US and its European allies have imposed illegal unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. On February 6, 2013, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting Iranian oil revenues. The sanctions prevent Iran from gaining access to earnings garnered from its crude exports. One Istanbul gold trader asking not to be named, said, "Due to the sanctions, nobody wants to attract attention. That may be the reason why exports stopped to Iran in January."
"However, trade with Iran continues; there will always be transfers," the Turkish gold trader added.On January 4, 2013, Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan slammed European Union pressures on Ankara to stop gold-for-gas trade with Iran, saying the EU demand would fall on “deaf ears.” On December 26, 2012, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Ankara would keep buying natural gas from Iran regardless of Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic. SF/HGH/SS