TEHRAN: Exports of Iran’s steel to the UAE and Kuwait were halted following the escalation of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, an Iranian steel producer said.
Reza Shahrestani, a member of the association of Iranian steel producers, said Iran in total exports about three million tons of steel annually and about 300,000 tons of the produced steel go to Kuwait and the UAE, ISNA news agency reported Jan. 13.
The volume of Iranian exports to the UAE and Kuwait is less than 10 percent of Tehran’s total steel exports, he added.
“Most of our products go to Iraq and Afghanistan, therefore cutting trade ties with these countries [the UAE and Kuwait] will not have an impact on our exports,” Shahrestani added.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia severely deteriorated following the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, on Jan. 2.
Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Sudan, Djibouti, Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait took a diplomatic action against Iran breaking off or downgrading relations with the Islamic Republic after angry Iranians, protesting al-Nimr’s execution, attacked Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad.
According to the World Steel Association, 1.28 million tons of crude steel were produced in Iran in November 2015, which indicates a fall by 12.2 percent year-on-year. About 14.835 million tons of crude steel was produced in Iran in the first 11 months of 2015. Iran was the world’s 14th biggest producer of steel in the 11-month period.
The country also ranked first among the Middle East countries. World crude steel production for the 66 countries, reporting to the World Steel Association, was 1.47 billion tons in 11 months, a 2.8-percent decrease compared to the same months of 2014.