Serious signs have appeared showing that doing business with Iran may have already started to return to normal a year after the removal of sanctions that had complicated commerce with the country since 2011.
Reuters in a report emphasized that the most significant sign to the same effect had emerged after Iran purchased 40,000 tons of rice from Thailand in an international tender this week.
It quoted a European trader as saying that the deal shows Iran's purchasing was returning to more normal patterns after the removal of sanctions against the country early last year.
"I think this sale in a tender shows Iran is starting to return to more traditional purchasing patterns after the relaxation of western sanctions," Reuters quoted an unidentified European trader as saying.
Other traders – who were not identified - were further quoted as saying that Iran had in past years largely purchased rice through lengthy direct negotiations as western sanctions imposed against the country had curtailed international payments through banks.
However, the recent purchase of rice from Thailand that was made by Iran’s state grains buyer – the Government Trading Corporation (GTC) – reportedly went through a US corporation which Reuters did not name.
"The sale was made by a US multi-national trading house," the news service further quoted the same European trader as saying.
Iran bought Hom Mali grade A rice from Thailand at about 600 euros ($645.54) a ton, traders said. Prices had been sought in euros in the tender.
The tender had closed on March 14.
The rice was for shipment between April 15 to May 15 to Bandar Imam Khomeini or Bandar Abbas ports.
No purchase was believed to have been made of 30,000 tons of rice from Argentina and 10,000 tons from India which were also sought, traders said.
Thailand plans to sell 300,000 ton of rice to Iran following the relaxation of international sanctions, Reuters quoted Thai officials as saying in January.
Most sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in 2016, in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear work under a deal with six major powers in 2015.