Banks in Turkey continue to send gold to Iran despite U.S. pressure to curb a booming gold-for-gas trade, which helps Iran skirt international sanctions.
This month, Turkish customs grounded a Turkish cargo plane en route from Ghana to Iran that was reportedly carrying a ton-and-a-half of gold.
Tehran has been accumulating huge amounts of the precious metal over the past year as a means of circumventing ever-tightening international financial sanctions over its nuclear enrichment program, which some nations fear is being used to develop a nuclear weapons' capability.
Turkey continues to provide the lion’s share of Tehran's demand for gold, said Attila Yesilada, of the Istanbul-based research firm Global Source Partners.
"Gold sales [to Iran] have been diversified through Switzerland and Abu Dhabi, but the annualized total for last year is something like $11 billion, most of it financed through the gold stock of Turkish people," Yesilada said. "This gold has become Iran’s main currency in terms [of] securing necessities from abroad."
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