28east

Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Posts Tagged ‘gold

New troughs

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A bold new low.

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Written by M. James

January 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

Posted in News, Politics, Turkey

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The Turkish corruption scandal in context

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On Oct. 23rd, 2012, I posted (“Turks subvert Iran sanctions”) an excerpt from a Reuters exclusive report on the gold trade between Turkey and Iran, through Dubai.

On Feb. 15th, 2013, Reuters published another exclusive, revealing Halkbank’s role in the movement of the aforementioned gold, and explaining the “gold-for-gas” trade. The pressure on Halkbank had already begun.

On Oct. 4th, 2013, The New York Times ran a feature on Iranian business tycoon Babak Zanjani titled “To This Tycoon, Iran Sanctions Were Like Gold.” Now Zanjani was under pressure for his role in subverting U.S. sanctions on Iranian energy.

In early November, 2013, the U.S.-Iran détente picked up speed and bargaining began.

On Dec. 17th, 2013, the Turkish “graft probe” began and Halkbank CEO Süleyman Aslan was implicated.

On Dec. 21st, Aslan and Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Azeri businessman accused of moving much of the gold, were arrested.

A week ago, Babak Zanjani was arrested “on alleged corruption charges.” His transgressions were, of course, simply the Iranian equivalent of the Halkbank scandal. The charges themselves are obviously contrived.

Apparently, one of the topics of debate in the ongoing “nuclear talks” between the U.S. and Iran is how to make the message perfectly clear: Gold is not a currency, and trading in gold is subversive. Those who do so will be punished. This has, after all, been a theme of the past two years in U.S.-Iran relations, so it should come as no surprise. Nor should it come as a surprise if Iranian energy exports, in one way or another, end up denominated in dollars in the near future.

Happy New Year.

Written by M. James

January 6, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Posted in News, Politics, Turkey

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Turks subvert Iran sanctions

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Exclusive: Turkish gold trade booms to Iran, via Dubai
Humeyra Pamuk; Reuters; Oct. 23rd, 2012

To see one of Iran’s financial lifelines at work, pay a visit to Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport and find a gate for a flight to Dubai.

Couriers carrying millions of dollars worth of gold bullion in their luggage have been flying from Istanbul to Dubai, where the gold is shipped on to Iran, according to industry sources with knowledge of the business.

The sums involved are enormous. Official Turkish trade data suggests nearly $2 billion worth of gold was sent to Dubai on behalf of Iranian buyers in August. The shipments help Tehran manage its finances in the face of Western financial sanctions.

A trader in Turkey said Tehran had shifted to indirect imports because the direct shipments were widely reported in Turkish and international media earlier this year. “Now on paper it looks like the gold is going to Dubai, not to Iran,” he said.

Iranian gold buyers may want to conceal their Turkish gold deliveries for fear of attracting attention from the United States, which is pressing countries around the world to shrink their economic ties with Iran.

The buyers may also want to make their purchases less vulnerable to any possible interference by Turkey’s government. Turkey’s close relationship with Iran has begun to sour as the two states find themselves on opposite sides of the civil war in Syria, with Turkey advocating the departure of President Bashar al-Assad and Iran remaining Assad’s staunchest regional ally.

Written by M. James

October 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Posted in News, Politics, Turkey

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