Turkey exported almost $120 million worth of gold to Iran in February, data showed, suggesting the two countries##Q## trade of gold for natural gas has resumed despite tighter U.S. sanctions, though at levels below last year##Q##s peaks.
U.S. officials have sought to prevent Turkish gold exports from providing a financial lifeline to Tehran, which has been largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions over its nuclear programme.
Turkey sold no gold to Iran in January, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK), as banks and dealers eyed the Feb. 6 implementation of U.S. sanctions that tightened control over precious metal sales.
The United States has given Turkey a six-month waiver exempting it from sanctions on trade with Iran, which is due to expire in July, but banks and dealers still have been cautious.
Turkey sold $117.9 million worth of gold to Iran last month, while exports to the United Arab Emirates, which has served in the past as a transit route to Tehran, rose to $402.3 million from $371 million in January, TUIK data showed.