ISLAMABAD, Sept 7: Iran has scrapped its barter trade deal with Pakistan for purchase of one million tonnes of wheat, top official of the Ministry of National Food confirmed to Dawn on Saturday.
The first shipment of 30,000 tonnes of wheat was to leave for Iran last week, but has been halted as Iranian authorities informed the government about cancellation of the deal.
Informed sources said that Iranian authorities scrapped the deal on the plea that they wanted supply from fresh wheat stocks.
Sources stated that Pakistan had agreed to supply 100,000 tonnes of wheat from the stock of wheat harvested earlier this year. However, Iranian authorities refused to accept even the fresh stock.
The first shipment was scheduled for February this year. However, it was delayed several times since Iran wanted fresh stock of wheat.
After scrapping the deal, Iran may consider buying basmati rice from Pakistan, sources said.
Wheat sowing season in the country will start after October 15 and continue till the end of December, while harvesting begins in Sindh in March and ends in June.
Sources said that the government is expected to announce wheat support price for farmers next month.
No official of the Iranian embassy in Islamabad was available for comments.
Economic and commercial counselors of the embassy were on leave while the press counselor did not respond to calls made by this correspondent.
Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Bosan, when contacted confirmed scrapping of the deal by Iran, and said the decision by Tehran would augment our wheat stock reserves.
National Food Security Secretary Seerat Asghar Jaura hinted that Iran may buy some other commodity from Pakistan in place of wheat.
Recently, Iranian deputy energy minister Mohammad Behzad was quoted by the Iranian news agency as saying that Tehran has agreed on barter trade of goods in exchange of electricity supply.
Iranian authorities had agreed that Pakistan would supply wheat and rice instead of cash since Pakistan owes Tehran about $53 million against electricity supply.