Wheat imports to Iran have spiked in recent weeks.
Reuters reports that Iran has purchased 300,000 tons of wheat from Russia and Kazakhstan. Recently, Iran also bought 120 thousand tons of wheat from the United States. In 2008, Iran resumed buying U.S. wheat for the first time in 27 years. In 2009, Iran bought 900,000 tons of wheat from the U.S. for $365 million.
U.S. sanctions against Iran do not include agricultural companies and products. However, paying for the purchases through financial institutions may be difficult, since all dealings with Iran’s Central Bank are under U.S. and EU sanctions over Iran’s nuclear disputes.
Drier-than normal seasons appear to have affected Iran’s wheat production. In February, Iran also bought close to 2.5 million tons of wheat from Russia, Germany, Canada, Brazil and Australia.
In 2004, Iran announced for the first time that it had become self-sufficient in wheat, and for the following two years, Iran did not need to import any wheat to meet its needs.
In the past few years, however, a decline in precipitation and a “delay in management of water resources” has led to a steep drop in wheat production.