Sanctions are putting the squeeze on Iran’s tradeDubai: In a stark indication of the impact of US sanctions and regional political tensions, the UAE’s exports to Iran dropped by over 30 per cent in the first 10 months of the Iranian year, which began on March 21, 2018.

Tumbling exports to the isolated country were recorded with four of Iran’s largest trading partners – China, Turkey, Germany, and the UAE, according to data from Iran’s customs administration. China, the top exporter of goods to Iran, saw the value of its imports decline 15 per cent, while Turkey saw an even steeper fall of 24 per cent.

At a decline of 32 per cent, however, it was the UAE, previously the second largest exporter of goods to Iran, that saw the biggest dip in trade flows with that country. The value of UAE’s exports to Iran dropped to $5.4 billion (Dh19.83 billion) in the first 10 months of the year, down from $8 billion over the same period a year before, and accounting for 15 per cent of Iran’s overall imports.

In fact, of the top five largest exporters to Iran, the only one to post any growth was India, through a 2 per cent increase in the value of its exports.

Nevertheless, both Russia and Oman bucked the trend of declining exports to Iran, posting substantial increases of 75 per cent and 164 per cent respectively.

China, meanwhile, was responsible for 25 per cent of the value of all Iranian imports, at $8.9 billion.

The Asian country has been a reliable buyer of Iranian oil in the past. Last year, Iran was China’s fourth largest supplier.

Conversely, the likes of Italy, France, Belgium, and the UK saw double-digit percentage declines in the value of their exports to Iran, the data shows. 

The US unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran in November last after a brief period of thaw in their relations, accusing the country of “outlaw” policies that were undermining regional stability. The sanctions targeted Iran’s oil, banking and transportation sectors.

Despite not having the backing of the other six countries that remain party to the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, companies in Europe and Asia are still largely unable to do business with Iran for fear of incurring steep penalties from the US.