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Friday 23.02.2018 | Name days: Haralds, Almants

Glencore bartered with firm linked to Iran nuclear program

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Commodities giant Glencore supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that has provided aluminum to Iran’s nuclear program, intelligence and diplomatic sources say.

The previously undisclosed barter arrangement between Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities trader, and the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) illustrates how difficult it is for Western powers to curb Iran’s ability to trade with the rest of the world. Even as the West imposes stringent restrictions on banks that do business with Iran, United Nations diplomats say that Tehran keeps finding new ways to do business with willing partners, Reuters wrote.

Reuters first learned about Glencore‘s barter deal with Iralco, and an aluminum supply contract that Iralco had with Iran Centrifuge Technology Co (TESA), from a Western diplomatic source in early November. That was about six weeks before the European Union’s December 2012 decision to levy sanctions on Iralco for supplying aluminum metal to TESA, which is a subsidiary of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

The source showed Reuters a Western intelligence report concerning Glencore‘s arrangement with Iralco. It described how Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore provided Iralco with thousands of tons of alumina last year in exchange for a lesser amount of aluminum metal.

It is not known whether any of the aluminum produced by Iralco from Glencore‘s alumina raw material actually ended up with TESA.

In a statement to Reuters, Glencore said it first learned about the TESA-Iralco relationship in December and immediately “ceased transactions” with Iralco. It said its last actual trade as part of the barter arrangement was in October 2012, two months before the EU move.

The company said that alumina and aluminum metal were not prohibited commodities under the sanctions, and that bartering is one of the oldest and most transparent forms of transaction and an accepted method in the metals business.

Swiss authorities said they saw no evidence of U.N. or Swiss sanctions violations by Glencore. Iralco is not under U.S. or U.N. sanctions.

Iralco did not respond to an emailed request for a comment.

Aluminum can be used to make aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges, though most newer gas centrifuges are made of a carbon composite material. Aluminum is also used in everything from cars to aircraft, buildings and cans.

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