|Thailand insists on agricultural barter with Iran: FM||
Thailand insisted it would develop a barter scheme with Tehran for the benefit of economic relations.
"As a member of the United Nations, we respect and comply with all resolutions on that matter," said Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul.
"Trade with Iran on agricultural items is not prohibited by the UN resolutions and we will do so to help our farmers," he said.
The barter plan has raised eyebrows in the United States and among its Western allies as Iran is still under sanctions according to the UN's resolutions and unilateral U.S. actions.
Surapong discussed the idea with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi on the sidelines of 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit last week in Tehran. The sanctions against Iran were among the hot topics during the summit.
Thailand and Iran will develop the barter plan when Surapong and Salehi meet soon in Tehran.
"Indeed, normal trade with Iran in agricultural items [does not violate] the sanctions, but we have to develop the barter scheme because we have problems with money transactions via the international banking system," Surapong said.
"The scheme has no political motivation against the sanctions," he insisted.
The United States has also issued a number of unilateral sanctions and an economic embargo, barring U.S. entities from providing material, technology, equipment and services to Iran. Transactions to and from Iran via U.S. entities could be blocked.
Thailand, as a member of the UN, has an obligation to comply with the UN resolutions, but as a sovereign nation it does not need to follow the U.S. actions.
However, the U.S. sanctions have affected Thailand and its business transactions directly and indirectly as trade and services needed to be conducted via international financial networks that are mostly controlled by U.S. entities or those of its allies.
Surapong said he was confident that bartering farm products was not prohibited by any international sanctions.
Salehi has said Iran needed rubber and rice from Thailand, while Thailand was looking for fertilisers from Iran.
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