SA ships 13 tons of gold to Iran - report

2015-07-10 08:44

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Cape Town – South Africa has shipped more than 13 tons of gold worth more than R6bn to Iran, despite the UN-backed sanctions on trade with that country, the Times reported on Friday. 

Iran allegedly bought the gold from an unidentified buyer and had been storing it in South Africa for the past two years. Sanctions on Iran holding gold were eased slightly in January last year.

Last week, the Central Bank of Iran announced a “sum of 13 tons of gold had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past two years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions”, Iranian state news agency Fars reported.

Iran’s central bank chief, Valiollah Seif, said the successful repatriation of the gold was evidence that a deal had been worked out on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna.

Iran is negotiating with the P5 + 1 group, USA, Britain, France, Russia, and China - plus Germany - about its nuclear programme.

Neither the Reserve Bank nor Treasury would reveal which institution the gold was bought from, The Times reported.

Economist Azar Jammine told the newspaper it was quite possible that a South African financial institution had that amount of gold, but it would need the go-ahead from the South African Reserve Bank to make the sale.

Treasury spokesperson Phumza Macanda would only say the transfer involved a South African institution and was concluded in terms of the joint plan of action agreed by Iran and the UN Security Council and that “government was not party to the gold transfer".

Read more on:    iran  |  iran nuclear programme

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