Iran aims to become top Russian grain importer: Ambassador to Russia
Iranian ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali announces that his country wants to become the number one purchaser of Russian grain by next year.
Iran is aiming to become the number one purchaser of Russia's grain, the Iranian ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali announced on Friday, stating that the country is currently the second top purchaser of the Russian commodity.
In a statement made during the Made in Russia Forum, the top diplomat said, “we provide (our people) with Russian grain – this wasn’t the case in the past. Since 2021, the process of grain acquisitions is changing inside Iran. Last year, I believe, we were in second place in our purchases from Russia. Next year we will, I think, be number one."
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Data acquired from Iran's ports and Maritime organization suggest that Tehran purchased 16.5 million tons of grain, where 50% of the total purchase accounts for wheat.
In order to become the number one importer of Russian grain, Iran must purchase at least 7 million tons of the commodities until March 2023.
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The Islamic Republic increased its imports of Russian grain after a drought that hit the country leading to a decrease in domestic production where the Grain Union in Iran approximates that significant imports would be reached for the second year in a row.
Russia tops the list as the largest wheat exporter in the world. According to the Russian Trade Minister Maksim Reshetnikov, between the years 2021 and 2022 Russia supplied to Egypt, Turkey, and other countries in South Asia, 38.1 million tons of grain including 30.7 million tons of wheat, placing it on top of the list of grain exporters, followed by Canada and the US.
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According to Russia's Agriculture Ministry, the country has witnessed this year a record harvest of grain, yielding over 147 million tons, 100 million tons of which are wheat, with estimates that during the years 2022 and 2023 a total of 50 million tons of grain will be exported including 39.5 million tons of wheat.
Last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the country's grain harvest in 2022 could exceed 130 million tonnes, and wheat comprises 87 million tonnes of those, which would see Moscow setting a new all-time record.
Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev said that the country is producing grain in 2022 at levels that may significantly exceed last year's rates and approaching its maximum level of over 130 million tonnes, adding that Russia had harvested 121.4 million tonnes of grain last year, including 75.94 million tonnes of wheat.
Iran and Russia have been warming up in relations, with reports last July revealing that Iran had become Russia's top customer in purchasing Russian wheat with 360,000 metric tonnes in deliveries according to data-intelligence company Kpler.
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The two countries' close collaboration comes against a backdrop of targeted and comprehensive sanctions waged by the West against them, which has prompted closer cooperation in the long run. The US-led world order has only polarized alliances further.
The closer cooperation will ameliorate the aggressive impacts of the West-led sanctions on the two countries by locating new markets for their products and boosting military cooperation. Recently, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the ties a "profound threat". Furthermore, bilateral trade has risen 10% between the two countries this year - in 2021, according to Russia, bilateral trade increased by 80% higher, reaching $4 billion.
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It's noteworthy that as Ukraine and Russia account for an estimated 30% of global exports of wheat, 20% of maize and 76% of sunflower, world leaders and international organizations have been warning of an imminent and large-scale food crisis that would affect the whole globe since the start of the Ukraine war, citing disruptions in supply chains and stunted crop production in one of the world's largest grain producers and sanctions against Russia which is preventing the largest exporter of grain to access most Western markets.
Russia blamed the West's "destructive" stance for the record-high grain prices, which gave rise to fears regarding a global food crisis in light of the Ukraine war and that the West's illegal restrictions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine war disrupted logistical and financial circuits, especially when it comes to grain exports.